American Eurocopter is proud to announce that MedFlight of Ohio has won the 2012 Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award, topping the list of a record 25 nominees.
MedFlight representatives were presented with the award and a $10,000 check by Anthony DiNota, American Eurocopter Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Customer Support, during the AMTC Community Awards Banquet held Monday evening, Oct. 22. The funds will assist MedFlight in continuing to promote safety within the organization and with its customers.
“MedFlight is an incredibly well respected flight program that exemplifies a ‘safety first’ mentality each and every day,” said DiNota. “Their ongoing upgrades in technology, implementation of innovative programs, and the development of a strong culture of safety with employees and customers, as well as their community outreach, make them the perfect choice for the Vision Zero Award.”
Formed through the progressive merger of two competing hospital air medical programs, MedFlight was the first non-profit hospital sponsored AMS program in the U.S, to out-base a helicopter from an urban hospital helipad to a rural community, reducing response time for patients. That base recently celebrated 25 years of safe service, transporting over 15,000 patients. MedFlight contracts with Metro Aviation for all helicopter services.
“Following a thorough and rigorous safety audit in 2006, we made the decision to change our approach to safety in the most aggressive and comprehensive way possible,” said Rod Crane, MedFlight of Ohio CEO. “We brought in Director of Safety, Colin Henry, began developing a number of safety initiatives, and moved forward with aircraft that would meet or exceed FAA recommended technology and support for pilot decision-making. Our various efforts have succeeded by increasing awareness, engagement and commitment to safety.“
All programs and operators who are members of the Association of Air Medical Service (AAMS) are eligible to apply for the Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award, and may nominate themselves. There were 25 organizations nominated this year, more than double the number of entries in any year of the award’s six-year history. The purpose of the award is not just to recognize and give credit to a program or entity that has demonstrated a commitment to safety, but also to spotlight their specific safety initiatives and share them with the entire industry so that others may incorporate them into their own programs.
“This year the Committee reviewed a record 25 quality nominations,” said,” Bill Bryant, Chairman of the Blue Ribbon Selection Committee, “While many of the nominees have implemented some creative new ideas, MedFlight of Ohio stood out from the rest by the expansive list of safety initiatives they have undertaken. We look forward to sharing these initiatives with the entire air medical industry, so that others may consider implementing them.”
MedFlight utilizes a variety of innovative safety initiatives that are representative of the Vision Zero goal, including:
- An airline modeled Safety Management System (SMS) into their daily air and ground operations. MedFlight also went through a rigorous safety audit by an external expert resulting in the hiring of a full-time Director of Safety to develop and implement an SMS. MedFlight is one of the few non-part 135 certificate holders in the United States to implement an aviation SMS for all administrative, ground and air operations.
- A Corporate Safety Culture Commitment was formed with all MedFlight employees, referred to as partners, to foster and develop safety, manage risk, continue to eliminate accidents.
- MedFlight Partners are included in the SMS design and implementation, and are members of the SMS Work Group, Internal Evaluation Program, and ad hoc investigation team. Safety documentation is always transparent and available with live feedback on company intranet sites.
- Adopting the Just Culture process and all employees receive annual training and testing including Threat and Error Management, Hazard Identification and Human Factors. They also publish and distribute a quarterly industry safety newsletter called Safety Matters regarding best practices and perform safety audits for others.
- Transitioning to a uniform fleet of eight Eurocopter EC130s equipped with HTAWS, Synthetic Vision System, Auto Pilot, NVGs, TCAS, Wire Strike System, Voice Video Flight Data Recorder, SAT Real time weather at a cost of more than $26 million.
- Modifying the Medical Communications process. Duties are divided into a Call-Taker and Dispatcher function. This allows the Dispatcher to focus on assigning, lifting, tracking, and making necessary notifications during the flight progression. Tools include a CAD, AVL/GPS tracking, and the latest in radio technology, with uninterrupted power supplies to insure continuity and back up.
- Communications Specialist Training includes one week of classroom training utilizing mock scenarios, in addition to 11 weeks of assigned presenting.
- Their high tech Innovations include an on-line debrief system with one screen dedicated to only safety issues, including fatigue assessment for all crew members.
- Presenting more than 300 safety and education events in 2011 alone to fire, EMS and hospital agencies throughout Ohio.
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; Chris Eastlee: President, Air Medical Operators Association; 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;Chris Bryant: Master Army Aviator, U.S. Army, Retired.
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.
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