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Congressman Salazar Continues The Fight Against Air Medical Service Tragedies

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Salazar Continues The Fight Against Air Medical Service Tragedies

Today, Congressman John T. Salazar announced the re-introduction of HR 1201, legislation co-sponsored by Congressman Daniel Lungren (R-CA) "to increase the safety of crew and passengers on aircraft providing emergency medical services." In 2008, the American air medical services community saw its largest number of line-of-service medical helicopter deaths—29 in 13 separate accidents. Colorado's most recent air medical service tragedy occurred on October 4, 2007, when three medical service personnel were killed in a plane crash west of Alamosa.

On the re-introduction of HR 1201, Congressman John Salazar offered the following comments:

"While we are all aware of the dangers facing our air-based medical teams, the reality hit very close to home for me in October of 2007 when three heroes lost their lives in a medical aircraft accident near my home in southern Colorado," said Congressman Salazar.

"As a pilot I know the pressures that can come with flight and I know those pressures are only intensified in an emergency medical situation. With the re-introduction of this bill we hope to add an additional layer of safety for our caregivers and to honor the remarkable sacrifices of those who have given their lives while trying to save others."

HR 1201 will:

Require the pilot of an aircraft providing emergency medical services to comply with federal crewmember flight time and duty period and rest requirements whenever there is a medical crew on board, without regard to whether there are patients on board.

Require the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to initiate a rulemaking to: (1) require pilots of aircraft providing emergency medical service to use a standardized checklist of risk evaluation factors to determine whether a mission should be accepted; (2) establish performance based flight dispatch procedures for such pilots; and (3) require, after a certain feasibility study is done, flight data and cockpit voice recorders on board such aircraft.

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