Air Ambulance Disaster Relief Efforts

Air Ambulance Disaster Relief Efforts

It is hard for the majority of the world to imagine the chaos and the combined efforts required to respond to disasters.  As

Man walking near ground Zero 9-11-01

commemorative efforts ensue for the anniversaries of major catastrophes, such as 9/11, reflections should include preparedness and education.  Disasters and catastrophes result in unprecedented numbers of ill and injured and can displace hundreds of thousands.  Most disasters that are not monumental and don’t evoke the “media-worthy attention” may effect the common person, and as such the common reader of this article should ask; “how would I respond if I or someone I cared for was affected by a disaster”.

Air ambulance flights, sometimes referred to as air medical evacuations, play a vital role in transporting injured and ill persons during and after disasters.  In the wake of the Haiti disaster nearly 4000 flights were coordinated. On a daily basis flights in and out of Haiti had increased by over 800%.  Evacuation flights were completed with coordinated efforts to advance care, transfer care, and ensure life was preserved.  Although the military and disaster relief programs such as the American Red Cross play a major role in all types of aid from food to shelter and the basic needs, smaller companies such as Mercy Jets Worldwide Air Ambulance play the vital role of inserting jets and medical crews into unstable areas to ensure persons ill, injured, or displaced can effectively and safely evacuated during disasters.

These Air ambulance companies specialize in transporting patients with minor injuries to life threatening illnesses and injures to an alternate source of care. The medical crews are highly trained emergency response units in most cases and consist of Flight Medics, Flight Nurses, Doctors, and even Surgeons.  In major disasters heavy aircraft and multiple teams may be utilized to transport multiple patients at the same time, increasing efficiency and reducing travel time.  However, the majority of air ambulance flights utilize smaller jets that are more cost efficient and specific to a single patient.

Again the question is posed of what to do?  Preparing for a disaster can turn into a freak event.  Look at Y2K, where the world panicked at the idea of all the computer systems shutting down in the year 2000.  Grocery stores turned record profits as citizens packed their closets with rations.  Hopefully the kids of those families aren’t still eating canned foods packed in 1999.

As a disaster or catastrophe is unannounced, preparation is very difficult and one can only truly be educated.  The Office of Disaster Preparedness is a good place to start. Their site continues to keep the public informed about emergencies and provides the information needed to protect and save lives. And as time ticks down to the next disaster, the military, the American Red Cross, and Mercy Jets continually practice and prepare to save lives.

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