Making Medical Flights Safer – Drone Rules

In light of the recent developments where medical flights around the world were disrupted due to illegally flying drones, there are a few questions that beg to be asked: “Is flying drones legal in the United States?”, “If so, what are the rules and legislations that govern flying of drones?”. Once you are aware of facts such as these, it helps flying them within the legal bounds making it easier for medical flights to ply. It must be noted in this context that flying drones is perfectly legal in the United States, subject to certain restrictions, so much so that even foreigners can bring them into the country and fly them. The Federal Aviation Authority as well as National Aviation Authority allow them.

Rules that Govern Drones in the United States

Rules for flying drones recreationally:

  • The reason for flying must only be recreational and there must be no business angle to it.
  • Hobbyists must visit https://faadronezone.faa.gov/#/ and register the drone with Federal Aviation Authority
  • The drones must never escape your line of vision as you fly them
  • Only those drones which are under 55 lbs are permitted
  • One must never be close to any aircraft
  • Only flying in Class G airspace is allowed
  • It is strictly prohibited to fly close to emergency response vehicles such as medical flights

Rules for flying drones commercially:

  • The operator must hold a FAA-issued Remote Pilot Certification
  • The drones must be registered with FAA just like recreational ones
  • It must weight under 55 lbs
  • The flight must not cross the speed of 100 miles per hour
  • The drone must always remain below 400 feet so that they do not disturb medical flights and other aircrafts
  • Any manned aerial vehicle must be given the right to way
  • Flying directly over people is prohibited
  • Flying a drone from a vehicle is only allowed in thinly populated regions

If these simple rules are taken care of, drone flying becomes a safe activity.

Connected Vehicles and Medical Flight Response

Connected vehicles are making big waves these days, especially cars. Medical flight services can be enhanced by leveraging this technology. Wondering how? Read on. Connected vehicles are based on the fact that data can be transmitted from one vehicle to a dashboard where the relayed electrical impulses can be translated into a language that is intelligible to human beings. The purpose is to take appropriate action based on the insights received. This communication is enabled through a combination of satellite connectivity, mobile phone towers, SIM cards, and sensors. Let’s take a look at the ecosystem of these tiny devices before we get into how they facilitate quick medical flight response.

Understanding Connected Devices

The sensor fitted in the vehicle, for instance a car, takes into account factors such as the geographic location of the vehicle, the speed, the extent of impact (in case of accidents), occupant health such as vital signs (through connected wearable devices),as well as the vibration, temperature, and sound of the vehicle. It constantly monitors and analyses these parameters. If one of them is off beyond a certain limit that is considered unsafe, it sets off an alert by leveraging mobile connectivity and satellites to a predefined location – for instance the nearest emergency response team.

How Connected Vehicles Help Better Medical Flight Response

For one, the call for help is immediate. Second, the call for help is accompanied by a wealth of data pertaining to the distance and exact location of the accident along with the occupants’ health-related data. This can be of immense help to the medical flight that is responding to the emergency. It can get onboard appropriate healthcare equipment as well as experts. Since the location is precise, reaching it becomes that much easier. It also helps them prepare the receiving facility well in advance. The result is invariably a better chance of survival.

Career Guide – Medical Flight Paramedic

A medical flight paramedic is a part of the support team that acquires immense importance every time there is a medical emergency. They work in conjunction with physicians and nurses. Medical flight paramedics almost invariably fly to the scene of medical team in the air ambulance. It is a frenzy of activities once they reach the spot, where they are expected to diagnose the patient, evaluate the situation and deliver the best life-saving care possible so that the patient can be transported safely to the appropriate treating facility. The job demands keeping a cool head under pressure.

The Career Prospects of a Medical Flight Paramedic

It is believed that in 2011, there were about 2,000 flight paramedics in the United States. However, the numbers have steadily grown since then. The growth is expected to be at a rate of about 23% until 2022. According to statistics that date back to 2012, the median salary of a flight paramedic was slightly over $31,000 but it is safe to assume that the amount has gone up drastically owing to increased demand. Industry experts believe that the demand will go up further as rural American hospitals are closing down rapidly, in turn fuelling the need for air ambulances.

Requirements to become a Flight Paramedic

The candidate must be at least 18 years of age and be certified as an EMT or emergency medical technician. The course must be approved by NREMT. The person should have worked as a paramedic for at least three years already and have CPR as well as paddle training. Other factors such as physical fitness are also important.

Here is a list of certifications needed:

  • Prehospital trauma life support
  • Advanced pediatric life support
  • Advanced cardiac life support
  • Basic life support
  • NREMT, ATLS-Audit, TNACT, and CCEMTP

Once these certifications are acquired, the candidate must pass FP-C exam to ultimately start career as a medical flight paramedic.