Largest Air Medical Transport Conference Focus On Safety Best Practices


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Largest Air Medical Transport Conference Focus On Safety Best Practices

By Bill Goldston

September 22, 2010 - Opportunities for improving human factors in Medevac-transport safety, including lessons learned and best practices from a former NASA astronaut, and a look at recent regulatory initiatives aimed at making helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) safer are among the topics of this year’s Air Medical Transport Conference (AMTC), the largest gathering of its kind in the nation.

More than 2,000 air medical transport professionals from across the globe will gather in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, October 11-13 for this year’s event. AMTC offers 150-plus education sessions covering topics in a variety of disciplines including safety, core clinical, specialty clinical, management, aviation, research, and communications.


In addition, AMTC features an annual Scientific Assembly and an exposition hall where more than 150 companies will display products and services related to air and critical care ground medicine. Medical evacuation, often termed Medevac or Medivac, is the timely and efficient movement and en route care provided to patients by medical personnel using medically equipped ground vehicles (ambulances) or aircraft (air ambulances).

AMTC activities begin with a pre-conference aircraft fly-in on Saturday, October 9. The conference’s opening session on Monday, October. 11 will feature a keynote speech by Steve Berry, BA, NREMT-P, a popular humorist who is well-known and loved in the EMS community. A paramedic for Southwest Teller County EMS in Colorado, Steve writes a monthly humor column for the Journal of Emergency medicine and illustrates cartoons for JEMS.

Another conference highlight will be an October. 12 keynote by Daniel W. Bursch, a former NASA astronaut and veteran of four space flights. Bursch will discuss “lessons learned” in space and which safety improvements instituted by NASA might be replicated in Medevac transport operations. Still other not-to-be-missed conference events include:

Details from Government Accountability Office (GAO) representatives regarding their soon-to-be-released examination of the scope of the air medical industry and the relationship between federal and state regulations; this much-anticipated study comes at the request of leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.


A discussion with Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) officials regarding the release of the FAA’s long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rule Making promulgating new safety requirements and addressing many of the concerns of the air medical community.

Opportunities for Safety Improvement in HEMS: A Multi-Discipline Safety Research Project and HEMS Accident Analysis: The State of the Union presentations by Ira Blumen, MD, FACEP, University of Chicago Medical Center, based on his nationally recognized research focusing on safety improvement in HEMS.

The annual AAMS “METI Cup” competition, sponsored by MedEvac Foundation International, in which competing teams practice and display their emergency patient-care skills on a state-of-the-art emergency-care patient simulator provided by Medical Education Technologies, Inc. (METI).

AMTC is a one-stop shop for access to representatives from myriad key aviation and health-care-related organizations. Organizers include the Association of Air Medical Services, the Air & Surface Transport Nurses Association, the Air Medical Physician Association, the International Association of Flight Paramedics, the National Association of Air Medical Communication Specialists, and the National EMS Pilots Association.

The Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) is the only international trade association serving the entire air and ground medical transport community. AAMS strives to enhance the medical transport industry by promoting the highest level of industry safety; promoting quality patient care; inspiring commitment to the industry’s work, causes, and viability; and providing superior service to its members.  For additional information, visit the AAMS’ web site at


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