After several delays, the Federal Aviation Administration has finally confirmed that the new air ambulance safety rules will go into effect from April 22, 2015. The date allows enough time for the various air ambulance companies to conform to the safety standards set by the FAA. Currently, FAA recognizes about 75 air ambulance companies that operate over 1500 choppers throughout the country. The announcement was publically made on November 3, 2014. FAA justified the delay in giving the confirmation by saying it wanted to make sure that it gave a fair amount of time to the air ambulance companies to comply with the new rules.
The FAA Rules have been Aimed at Air Ambulance Crew Safety
Numerous recent studies have pointed out the fact that being part of air ambulance crews is among the most dangerous jobs in the world. Added to this, there has been a spate of air ambulance accidents over the last decade. The expert opinions too have pointed to inadequacies such as lack of night vision apparatus for pilots and the fact that there is currently no adequate weather monitoring and communication system. All this is set to change once the new rules come into play. It is widely hoped that the dwindling confidence of crews will get a new elixir of life with the implementation of FAA rules in April next year.
FAA’s Progress with Regards to Air Ambulance Safety Rules was Well Monitored
The audit of FAA’s progress was being audited as early as late last year, 2013. The Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General was believed to be on the case. According to the department’s office, about 400,000 patients are transported through air ambulance services each year. They had also recognized that fact that, most of the times, the conditions in which an air ambulance has to operate are less than ideal. The fatalities were at an all-time high in 2008-2009. It is expected that the Office of Inspector General would audit the implementation of rules sometime in 2015.