4-Feb-2012 Source: DRF
In 2011 the air rescue organisation DRF Luftrettung flew a total of 38,366 rescue missions, involving helicopter missions at 31 HEMS bases in Germany, Austria and Denmark as well as worldwide repatriations with its ambulance aircraft. In Germany alone the crews were alerted to 35,075 missions, meaning a rise of 3 % compared to the year before (33,861 missions). Flying an average of 100 missions per day the red-white helicopters were alerted to rescue patients with heart attacks and apoplexies on numerous occasions. 16 per cent of the missions in Germany involved patients injured in car or leisure accidents.
In a medical emergency, every minute counts. Motorbike accidents, seriously injured children: The rescue helicopters are used to bring the emergency physician to the scene of the accident and transport its patients to suitable hospitals. â€œEvery third emergency patient has to be transported in a hospital by a helicopter. For several years the German health system has been undergoing structural changes, for example a specialisation of clinics. Our helicopter can cover wide distances fast and therefore have a crucial advantage to provide the patients with an optimal treatment, especially in rural areas. Therefore air rescue in Germany is gaining more and more importanceâ€, emphasizes Steffen Lutz, CEO of DRF Luftrettung.
Emergencies also occur at night. In addition, intensive care patients have to be transported between clinics at night-time. Eight out of 31 HEMS bases of DRF Luftrettung operate 24/7. In 2011, every fifth missions was flown at night. As the only civil air rescue organisation in Germany, DRF Luftrettung uses night vision goggles for its missions in the darkness. This innovation, used at three HEMS bases so far, helps pilots to observe obstacles such as power masts or fog and mist. The night vision goggles are, along with the special night flight procedure and the IFR (instrument flight rules) operation, an additional important building block for safe flight rescue at night.
Outside of Germany, at two HEMS bases in Austria and one HEMS base in Denmark, DRF Luftrettung flew 2,379 helicopter missions in 2011. Alone, the Danish helicopter with the call sign â€œAir Rescue 01â€ flew 683 missions, proving that the first Danish HEMS base in Ringsted on the island of Zealand, has been well established. It is operated by Falck DRF Luftambulance A/S, a consortium of DRF Luftrettung and the Danish rescue service operator Falck A/S. Also, the two Austrian rescue helicopters of the ARA Flugrettung (which belongs to DRF Luftrettung), were much in demand: The crews in Reutte (Tyrol) and Fresach (Carinthia) flew 1,696 missions altogether. The majority of the missions in Austria concerned patients with internal diseases and neurological emergencies, such as apoplexy and heart attack. They were also alerted to casualty patients, e.g. skiing accidents, in the mountains. As the only rescue helicopters in Austria, both BK 117 of ARA Flugrettung in Tyrol and Carinthia are equipped with a rescue winch.
Apart from helicopter rescue, DRF Luftrettung conducted worldwide missions with its ambulance aircraft in cooperation with LAR (Luxembourg Air Rescue) under the name of European Air Ambulance (EAA): Last year 912 patients were transported from abroad to their home countries, landing in 100 countries worldwide. These repatriation flights were coordinated by the respective alert centers at the airports of Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden in Germany and Luxembourg. The experienced dispatchers can be reached 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, under the emergency telephone number +49-(0)711-7007-7007.
DRF Luftrettung can rely on its highly qualified staff: In total, approximately 660 emergency physicians, 320 paramedics, 160 pilots and 80 technicians were on duty for DRF Luftrettung.