Flight For Life program wins AEC’s 2011 Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award

Flight For Life program wins AEC’s 2011 Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award

19-Oct-2011 Source: American Eurocopter

American Eurocopter is proud to announce that the Flight For Life Transport System has won the 2011 Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award.  As part of the award, American Eurocopter presented the program with a check for $10,000 to continue its efforts towards safety both within the organization and with its customers

During the AMTC Community Awards Banquet, Treg Manning, American Eurocopter’s Vice President of Sales, presented the award and the check to representatives from the Flight For Life team who were in attendance. “Flight For Life (FFL) is a well-respected, CAMTS-accredited flight program that has provided more than 28 years of service with over 30,000 patient transports,” explained Manning. “Its commitment to safety includes an ongoing investment in significant upgrades in technology and the development of a strong culture of safety internally, as well as with its communities and customers.”

Flight For Life (FFL) was the first hospital-based EMS helicopter program in Wisconsin, completing its first patient transport in January of 1984. In 1996, it became the first air medical program in Wisconsin to gain CAMTS accreditation, a standing it has held ever since.

Jim Singer, FFL’s Transport System Director, was honored to be notified the program had won the award. “Learning that FFL had been chosen to receive what I consider to be our industry’s most prestigious award validated the many safety initiatives that our program has implemented over the past 28 years,” said Singer. “Barb Hess, one of our founders and first program director, would have been extremely proud of this achievement as she laid the foundation that created the safety culture our organization has today.”

According to Bill Bryant, Chairman of the Blue Ribbon Selection Committee, the choice was particularly difficult this year as there were a record number of high quality nominations. “In the end, Flight For Life rose to the top as this year’s winner because of FFL’s long history of involvement locally, regionally and nationally to promote safety in the air medical transport industry.”

“There is no single silver bullet that ensures safety, and likewise there was no single initiative for FFL that made it stand out,” he continues. “Rather, it was the totality of FFL’s comprehensive safety initiatives that stood out to the Committee and could help other organizations improve their own safety programs.”

In the nomination documents, FFL described more than 20 different safety initiatives it has undertaken. The Blue Ribbon Selection Committee is excited to share this information with the industry as many of these ideas can easily be adopted or modified by other flight programs. FFL’s efforts represent a notable contribution to the industry-wide safety goal of Vision Zero.

Some of the safety initiatives include:

  • Operating its own central Communications Center
  • Consistent and on-going utilization of www.weatherturndown.com and monitoring compliance on all flight requests that are turned down due to weather
  • Base-specific yearly downed aircraft drills
  • Mandatory combined base shift briefings
  • Development and digital cataloging of Pre-determined Landing Zones for scene response
  • Four to go and One to say no policy
  • Pre-flight check by all three crew members
  • Education, designation, and utilization of a tail rotor guard on all scene responses
  • Online documentation of safety issues and their resolutions
  • Base-specific and program-wide multi-disciplinary Safety Committees
  • Clinical Observation Participation and Communication Center Observational Experience programs for referring/receiving customers
  • Safety training developed specifically for fire/EMS/law enforcement/hospital security and dispatch personnel
  • Distribution of personal protective eyewear and hearing protection to fire/EMS/hospital security personnel
  • Assistance with hospital helipad development and resolution of safety concerns
  • Purchase of new EC145s and upgrade of BK117 along with a dedicated back-up aircraft
  • Involvement locally, regionally and nationally in the air medical transport industry to promote safety
  • Assisted in production of “Hazards of Helicopter Shopping” video that was distributed to all air medical programs
  • Development of a “Safety Coin” to promote safety and generate support of the NVG program
  • Design and development of an inexpensive egress trainer
  • Base-specific liaisons to the customers and media
  • Education of customers and the community on the dangers of laser strikes to an aircraft
  • Customer Service Advisory Board to bring the voice of the customer to the program
  • Use of social media to communicate in “real time” to customers and the communities it serves

The Blue Ribbon Committee is made up of members with extensive backgrounds in the air medical industry. The 2011 Blue Ribbon Committee members are:

  • Bill Bryant MPA (Chair): President and Principal of Sierra Health Group
  • Denise Landis, RN, EMT-P, MSA, CMTE: Program Director for University of Michigan Survival Flight
  • Eileen Frazer, RN, CMTE: Executive Director of CAMTS
  • Ed MacDonald: Chairman of AMSAC
  • Clark Kurschner: Director of Operations, Omniflight Helicopters, Inc
  • Gerry Pagano: Director of Operations, Health Care District of Palm Beach County’s Trauma Hawk Aeromedical Program
  • Jason Schwebach MBA, MHA, CMTE: Assistant Vice President at Carolinas Healthcare System and MedCenter Air Administrative Director
  • Joe Syslo: Former Senior Manager, Aviation Safety for American Eurocopter

For more information about the Vision Zero program and the American Eurocopter Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award, please visit Association of Air Medical Services website www.aams.org.

About American Eurocopter

American Eurocopter is the U.S. affiliate of Eurocopter, the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world, and a subsidiary of EADS North America Holdings, the North American operations of EADS, the second largest aerospace and defense company in the world. American Eurocopter is a helicopter manufacturer and markets, sells and supports the broadest range of civil and para-public helicopters offered by any manufacturer. The product line represents the most cost-effective, technologically-advanced helicopters, ranging from light single to heavy twin, serving all markets and missions. American Eurocopter’s headquarters and main facility are in Grand Prairie, TX, with a large manufacturing and production facility in Columbus, MS.

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