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The US Air Ambulance Landscape – Part 3

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We bring you the last in the three-part series that describes the US air ambulance landscape. Here, we discuss regulations governing the industry in the country. Usually, when regulations and the medical flight industry are mentioned in the same breath, the expectation is that the conversation is veering towards the rising cost. However, this time around, we look at the two in a different light. Regulations are what make the skies safer for the crews that traverse the skies daily in air ambulances. The stringent safety regulations started to come into effect after the year 2014, although it was still limited to defining the action date for the industry.

US Air Ambulance Industry and Regulations

The safety recommendations were made by the National Transportation Safety Board. They jumped into the forefront after a spate of medical flight crashes that led to several deaths. The public concern was mounting and the department had to take action. The recommendations were then presented to the FAA or Federal Aviation Administration. The safety requirements mandated several technology upgrades aimed at offering high degree of protection against bad weather, low visibility at night, and better landing capabilities. Terrain avoidance avionics as well as systems that monitor flight data became compulsory features in the US Air Ambulance vehicles.

Have the Regulations Helped the Industry?

According to the data released by Federal Aviation Administration, the rate of medical flight accidents has come down by slightly over a percentage and the rate of fatal accidents by slightly less than a percentage. However, industry experts opine that the US air ambulance industry remains one of the most unsafe when compared to other developed countries. Industry data supports their claims. Canada has had just one fatal air ambulance accident since 2008 and so has the United Kingdom. The US, on the other hand, has witnessed 29 fatal ones.

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