Making EMS Flights Safer

By: Kieran Wilson Email
By: Kieran Wilson Email

Congressman John Salazar (D) Colorado, was on hand Wednesday morning at St. Mary's Hospital discussing H.R. 3939, legislation that would increase the safety for crew and passengers on aircrafts providing emergency medical services.

The legislation would prohibit EMS flights from taking off in dangerous weather conditions under Part 91 Rules. Instead all hospitals would have to fly under Part 135 rules. This would require that pilots have three miles of visibility ahead and be able to see at least 1,000 feet above.

In the past few years three EMS flights have crashed on the western slope.


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  • by Truth Location: Colorado on Jan 19, 2008 at 09:59 AM
    Truth is that most patients flown because of hospital policies, physician ignorance, and fear. Most people would benefit from ground transportation and a lower bill than flying on an airplane or helicopter. This is a great step forward to lowering the waste of Medicare money and bringing a growing industry into checks and balances
  • by wyomedic Location: wyoming on Jan 12, 2008 at 06:45 AM
    It's just another case of the government trying to protect us with knee-jerk reactions. There are so many variables in this industry, the "what ifs" are endless. Training and technology would offer more safety than any government regulation.
  • by Cyclicauthority on Jan 11, 2008 at 12:25 PM
    This will cause a lot of stir if there is a patient in dire need of an airlift and the helicopter cannot be used to pick them up because there isn't 3 miles of visibility and 1000' ceilings. Could you imagine what type of stir/lawsuits it would cause with the patient's family? There is so much technology today that could make the safety factor higher (e.g. TAWS, EGPWS, or Chelton FlightLogic). It's up to the operators to have state of the art equipment in their air medical helicopters. Besides a lot of accidents are caused by pilot error! spend money on better trained pilots or find more capable ones.
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