MedFlight of Ohio is the winner of the 2012 American Eurocopter Vision Zero Safety Award. The award recognizes an entity that has demonstrated a commitment to safety, spotlights its specific safety initiatives and shares them with the industry to encourage their proliferation.
MedFlight was the first nonprofit hospital-sponsored AMS program in the U.S to out-base a helicopter from an urban hospital helipad to a rural community, reducing response times. That base recently celebrated 25 years of safe service, during which it transported more than 15,000 patients. MedFlight contracts with Metro Aviation for helicopter services and is transitioning to a fleet of eight Eurocopter EC130s equipped with HTaws, synthetic vision system, autopilot, NVGs, Tcas, wire strike protection system, voice video flight data recorder, and SAT real-time weather.
MedFlight’s safety initiatives include implementing an airline-style safety management system (SMS) for administrative, ground and air operations; contracting for external audits; and hiring an in-house safety director. All employees receive annual training and testing in subjects such as threat and error management, hazard identification and human factors. They also publish and distribute a quarterly industry safety best-practices newsletter called Safety Matters. Safety documentation is transparent and available with live feedback on company intranet sites. Medflight communications are divided into call-taker and dispatcher functions. This allows the dispatcher to focus on assigning, lifting, tracking and making necessary notifications during a flight. Communications specialist training includes one week of classroom instruction using mock scenarios and 11 weeks of assigned presenting. An online debrief system uses one screen dedicated exclusively to safety issues, including fatigue assessment for all crewmembers.