FAA knows high EMS death rate
September 27, 2008, brought another fatality for medical helicopters. The National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) states the accident rate for medical helicopter crashes in the past 12 months is too high.Washington: Early Sunday morning, another emergency medical service (EMS) helicopter crash resulted in fatalities in suburban D.C. Aviation and medical personnel were attempting to transport two motor vehicle accident victims when air-traffic controllers lost contact with the pilot.Aviation lawyers are aware this recent accident counts as the eighth EMS helicopter crash, with fatalities, in the last 12 months. This common knowledge among personal injury lawyers has now been established as fact by the NTSB. The NTSB recently stated the accident rate for flights, involving flight nurses and paramedics, is far too high. The NTSB further acknowledges even though EMS teams have to navigate rough terrain, bad weather, and darkness this mortality rate is still too high.Our nurses, paramedics and pilots are showing up for duty and working long hours to save lives. It is imperative EMS personnel are provided with equipment and technology to perform their jobs. The NTSB and the Federal Aviation and Transportation Authority (FAA) are well aware of the dangerous work place practices that continue to exist for our rescue workers. Personal injury lawyers are fighting to protect workers rights and accident victims. Attorneys continue to scratch their heads in disbelief with the lack of support from our legislators.Robert Sumwalt, vice chairman, of the NTSB is calling for immediate action by Congress based on the increasing number of fatalities, “We are an independent federal agency, charged by Congress to investigate transportation accidents, to determine the probable cause, and then to issue safety recommendations. And when those recommendations are not implemented, lives are lost, needlessly,”In 2006 the NTSB found that 29 of 55 accidents could have been prevented, and identified several recurring safety issues:The use of available technology to enhance EMS flight safety is not required. Such as warning systems and terrain awareness.No consistent, comprehensive flight-dispatch procedures for EMS operations.EMS operations are not required to perform aviation flight-risk evaluation programs.A lack of stringent requirements for EMS operations conducted without patients on board.Although the NTSB offers recommendations, it is the Federal Aviation Administration that has the power to make regulations mandatory.”We understand the NTSB safety recommendations, and we agree with all of them,” said Jim Ballough, director of the FAA’s flight standards. “We also understand that rule-making takes a long time,” he said.Workers and accident victims continue to suffer injuries and die unnecessarily. A personal injury lawyer is the ability to help people suffering injuries at the hands of others.