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The Role of Regulations in Air Ambulance Safety Practices


Air ambulance vehicles are required by law in the United States to install several safety measures. These are meant to safeguard both the occupants and the crew. While such measures can seem imposing at times, there is no denying that they go a long way in saving lives, especially considering the fact that the fatality rates in the air ambulance industry are much higher when compared to the aviation sector in general. Sure, the cost of maintaining medical flights goes higher due to these safety regulations, which is ultimately reflected in the cost one pays for availing of medical flight services. But what would happen if the safety regulations were not strictly imposed?

The World in Which Air Ambulance Safety Practices are Not Strictly Imposed

The best example of such a regulatory landscape is helicopter tours. They are not as strictly regulated as air ambulance services. The result can be a crash that was witnessed in the year 2019. The helicopter had crashed in Hawaii.

The vehicle did not have weather cameras, unlike air ambulance vehicles that have them as a government mandate. The chopper was navigating through a mountainous region and there was heavy fog. The pilot failed to gauge what was coming at them and ultimately crashed. The Federal Aviation Administration has recently revealed in its report that the mishap was utterly avoidable, had there been weather cameras in the helicopter. The government agency had investigated all possible angles and come to a conclusion.

The Tug-of-War: Cost and Safety

It is heart-wrenching to cancel an air ambulance service when it can mean the difference between life and death. These vehicles need to have the capacity to navigate through inclement weather and other adverse conditions like poor visibility. The vehicle, therefore, needs to be fitted with the right equipment. Speaking of the cost, one must understand that commerce can never be a factor up for consideration when lives are involved.

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