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Understanding the Importance of Golden Hour in Air Ambulance World

“Golden hour” is a term that is often referred to in cases of medical emergencies, especially involving an air ambulance. However, if you try looking the term up on the internet, you will be confronted with a variety of conflicting definitions and opinions on it. Here, we try and impress upon you the importance of the term golden hour and tell you why the term needs to be viewed in a broader perspective.

What does the Term Mean for an Air Ambulance Service?

In short, golden hour is that short window of time by which a patient stands the maximum chance of full recovery if he or she receives medical attention. The term is most often referred to in critical cases and the window is usually 60 minutes. It is therefore always the ultimate aim of an air ambulance service to get help within this window of time, when dealing with emergencies. It must be understood that an air ambulance does not always get the full 60 minutes to transport a critical patient, since getting the logistics right can be quite a task. Getting the first-responders, qualified crew, and the staff of the receiving hospital in tandem can prove tough, although an air ambulance service would give it its best to get these aspects in sync.

An Air Ambulance may get a Larger Window of Time Sometimes

If one is to define the golden hour in a wider sense, it would be a time greater than one hour in some cases. Take for instance stroke victims. Here the air ambulance would have about 3 hours at its disposal to get the patient the help he or she needs. In essence, the golden hour need not be 60 minutes literally. It could be a case-by-case urgency, which would be best defined by the treating physician. The golden hour would also determine – in most cases – whether an air ambulance is a feasible option considering the time, accessibility, and costs involved. However, being knowledgeable about the golden hour can help you call for help in a timely manner and save a loved one.

Florida Statute Regarding Air Ambulance Service ans License

See original

The 2012 Florida Statutes

Title XXIX

PUBLIC HEALTH

Chapter 401

MEDICAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND TRANSPORTATION

401.251 Air ambulance service; licensure.—

(1) Each person, firm, corporation, association, or governmental entity that owns or acts as an agent for the owner of any business or service that furnishes, operates, conducts, maintains, advertises, engages in, proposes to engage in, or professes to engage in the business or service of transporting by air ambulance persons who require or are likely to require medical attention during transport must be licensed as an air ambulance service, before offering such service.

(2) The application for this license must be submitted to the department on forms provided for this purpose. The application must include documentation that the applicant meets the appropriate requirements for an air ambulance service as specified by rule of the department.

(3) An applicant who seeks licensure as an air ambulance service must:

(a) Submit a completed application to the department on such forms and including such information as specified by rule of the department.

(b) Submit the appropriate fee as provided in s. 401.34.

(c) Specify the location of all required medical equipment and provide documentation that all such equipment is available and in good working order.

(d) Provide documentation that all aircraft and crew members meet applicable Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.

(e) Provide proof of adequate insurance coverage of not less than $100,000 per person and $300,000 per incident, or a greater amount if specified by rule of the department, for claims arising out of injury or death of persons and damage to property of others resulting from any cause for which the owner of such business or service would be liable. Self-insurance is an acceptable alternative as specified in s. 401.25(2)(c).

(f) Specify whether the service uses either fixed-winged or rotary-winged aircraft, or both.

(4)(a) If a service provides interhospital air transport, air transport from hospital to another facility, air transport from hospital to home, or similar air transport, the service must provide evidence that it has employed or contracted with a medical director to advise the service on the appropriate staffing, equipment, and supplies to be used for the transport of any patient aboard an air ambulance and must provide information to referring physicians regarding special medical requirements and restrictions when transporting by air ambulance.

(b) If the air ambulance service uses rotary-winged aircraft in conjunction with another emergency medical service, the air ambulance service must meet the provisions of this section and must meet separate basic life support and advanced life support requirements unique to air ambulance operations as is required by rules of the department. Such service is subject to the provisions of s. 401.25 relating to a certificate of public convenience and necessity; however, a service may operate in any county under the terms of mutual aid agreements.

(c) Unless, in the opinion of the attending physician, the patient has an emergency medical condition as defined by s. 395.002, the service must provide each person using the service, before rendering the service, a written description of the services to be rendered and the cost of those services.

(5) In order to renew a license for air ambulance service, the applicant must:

(a) Submit a renewal application to the department not more than 90 days nor less than 60 days before the license expires.

(b) Submit the appropriate renewal fee as provided in s. 401.34.

(c) Provide documentation that current standards for issuance of a license are met.

(6) Any advanced life support service licensee may engage in air ambulance operations by complying with the appropriate provisions of this section and requirements specified by rule of the department.

History.—ss. 11, 13, ch. 83-196; s. 1, ch. 91-169; ss. 27, 36, ch. 92-78; s. 73, ch. 92-289.

Note.—Former s. 401.48.

What are the requirements for an ambulance driver in Florida?

An ambulance driver must meet the following requirements:

  • Is at least 18 years of age;
  • certifies under oath that he or she is not addicted to alcohol or any controlled substance, and is free from any physical or mental defect or disease that might impair their ability to drive an ambulance;
  • Upon initial designation as a driver, has not within the past 3 years, been convicted of reckless driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance and has not had a driver’s license suspended under the point system provided for in Chapter 322, Florida Statutes;
  • successfully completed a 16 hour course of instruction on driving an authorized emergency vehicle, which includes, at a minimum, classroom and behind the wheel training.  Section 64J-1.013, Florida Administrative Code for details on the 16 hour course content;
  • possess a valid American Red Cross or National Safety Council first aid course or its equivalent; and
  • possess a valid American Red Cross or American Heart Association cardiopulmonary resuscitation card.

Reference Section 401.281, Florida Statutes and Chapter 64J-1.013, Florida Administrative Code.