Broad Spectrum of Industry Stakeholders Comment on IRP
Alexandria, VA, April 20, 2009 — The Flight Safety Foundation released a groundbreaking assessment today that provides a comprehensive look at the risks facing the Helicopter Emergency medical services (HEMS) industry. The Industry Risk Profile (IRP), developed by Aerosafe Risk Management, also provides a roadmap outlining proactive steps that the industry and regulators can follow in order to mitigate these risks.
Aerosafe developed the IRP using internationally recognized risk management standards. This independent analysis utilized a wide variety of data and perspectives from the HEMS industry. The IRP process is designed specifically to allow industry to step up and shape a way forward. “When we started this project, we knew that industry had already been working to address the risks it faces at the operational and organizational levels,” commented Aerosafe CEO Kimberley Turner. “The IRP highlights 26 key systemic risks, many of which are at the structural and oversight level of the industry. The broader context of the IRP digs deep and provides a common rallying point for all of the HEMS industry to move forward.”
As was reported in the March 2009 issue of AeroSafety World (“Closing the Loop”), at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) hearings in early February, NTSB Member Robert Sumwalt noted that the recent HEMS accident record is “alarming and unacceptable.” He further noted that the motivation for the hearing was “to find innovative ways to improve HEMS safety.”
“The Flight Safety Foundation is the logical place to house this assessment,” said William R. Voss, president and CEO of FSF. “We have almost 65 years experience in aviation safety and have brought together industry groups in order to address some of the most pressing safety issues during that time. This is an innovative study that is calling for some of the very same safety tools that FSF has developed and used in the commercial and corporate aviation industry. These safety tools can be used not only for HEMS, but for any industry trying to mitigate risk.”
“Acknowledging the problem and identifying risks are critical first steps toward finding solutions to accidents that have plagued helicopter emergency medical services,” says Jerod M. Loeb, Ph.D., executive vice president, Division of Quality Measurement and Research, The Joint Commission. "As the nation’s leading health care accrediting body, The Joint Commission is committed to patient and staff safety and believes that this IRP will help target specific interventions that will ultimately save lives.”
From the industry’s lead pilots association, the National EMS Pilots Association (NEMPSA), Chair of the Board Kent Johnson said, “We applaud the efforts of any agency or group conducting scientific research on safety and risk management in Helicopter EMS operations. We recognize all those who have made contributions to the recent IRP efforts and we hope that this research results in findings and recommendations that will be of benefit to the air medical industry.”
With the release of the HEMS IRP today, all industry stakeholders are invited to participate directly in the development of risk treatment strategies to address the wide-ranging spectrum of risk. This call to action establishes timelines for a comprehensive joint HEMS Risk Reduction Plan to be in place by August 31, 2009.
“The Foundation of Air-Medical Research and Education (FARE) is excited to partner with the Flight Safety Foundation by funding the printing and distribution of the HEMS Industry Risk Profile,” said Dr. Kevin Hutton, Chairman of the Board of FARE. “FARE’s mission includes the promotion of safety in Helicopter EMS through education, research, and innovative sponsorship of initiatives such as the HEMS Industry Risk Profile. This unique document is based on a meta-analysis of industry data and a wide variety of perspectives. It provides a comprehensive framework and important insights that will assist the HEMS industry to fund, develop, and standardize how safety and risk management are addressed, enhancing the health care community’s ability to serve our nation’s sickest and most severely injured patients requiring rapid transport to hospitals with the highest and safest level of care en-route,” Dr. Hutton added.
Flight Safety Foundation is an independent, non-profit, international organization engaged in research, auditing, education, advocacy and publishing to improve aviation safety. The Foundation’s mission is to pursue the continuous improvement of global aviation safety and the prevention of accidents. www.flightsafety.org
Contact: Emily McGee, Director of Communications, 1-703-739-6700, ext. 126; firstname.lastname@example.org