The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has proposed allowing Air Ambulances to land near accident sites on highways. If approved, the proposal will play a vital role in saving lives of accident victims.
Speedy medical attention within the ‘Golder Hour’ after the accident is considered vital to avoid fatality. Considering this critical factor DGCA put forth this welcoming proposal to allow Air Ambulances-Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS)- to land at emergency accident sites orat nearby open areas.
“The Helicopter Emergency Medical Services are involved in life-saving missions. Clinical benefits should reach the casualty within the ‘Golden Hour’ of occurrence. It can make the difference between life and death. This is only possible if the helicopter has freedom to land anywhere,” said a senior DGCA official.
The DGCA proposal lays down operating procedures for these services to be implemented in two phases. In the first phase the Air Ambulance helicopters will be allowed to land at approved locations only. These are to be designated after survey by the operator in a city.
The second phase, for which approvals will be required from the ministries concerned, envisages landing freedom in any open area.
A Helicopter Ambulance will carry two trained pilots, technical crew, and a medical professional along with various life-support equipment. The plan requires the operating company to set up a control room which will receive accident related information viaa toll-free number. A few companies have shown great interest and are already exploring import of helicopters for the purpose.
According to the recent announcement of Civil Aviation Policy, ‘HEMS’ or ‘Air Ambulance’ helicopters will be permitted to fly point-to-point without prior air traffic control clearance in airspace below 5,000 feet and outside of prohibited or restricted areas. This will facilitate rapid deployment and quick medical attention to the accident victims.