This Page was Last Updated on: August 1, 2016
All of the EMS Vehicles had been enroute to Medical and Trauma calls.  All had their sirens activated and Emergency Lights Flashing.  All were involved in accidents because Motorist failed to yield to the extreme right or failed to yield the right of way resulting in these accidents.  Many First Responders, EMT'S and Paramedics are killed per year because of Motorist Neglect!
                                                                                     IT DOESN'T SEEM POSSIBLE



  Ambulance & Helicopter Hazards
Anatomy of Ambulance Accident Sequence
Interior Results of an Accident
                                                Study Finds EMS is a Risky Occupation
Little has been known about the occupational risks for emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, but a new study finds it is a far more hazardous profession than previously believed. Only four previous studies have evaluated EMS injuries, but most provided limited data. (Occupational Fatalities in Emergency Medical Services: A Hidden Crisis, p. 625) In the most comprehensive study to date, the EMS occupational fatality rate from 1992 to 1997 was estimated at 12.7 fatalities per 100,000 EMS workers, more than twice the national average for workers and comparable with rates for police (14.2) and firefighters (16.5) during the same period.  Ambulance crashes appear to be the most likely cause of death for EMS workers.  The study’s authors examined three independent databases, including the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), and the National Emergency Medical Services Memorial Service (NEMSMS), to help develop the most comprehensive picture to date of the occupational hazards for EMS workers. According to the study, EMS personnel, which include emergency medical technicians and paramedics, are exposed to a wide variety of occupational hazards, including ambulance crashes, assaults, infectious disease, hearing loss, lower back injury, hazardous materials exposure, stress, extended work hours, and exposure to temperature extremes.
Please check your rear view mirror,if an emergency vehicle is approaching pull right and stop.  Please do not Blare you car radio's, this would cause lack of siren sounding
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The brave fearless 'Fighters' that step out into the night, working under extreme conditions, for which we have no insight.Their continued schooling is never ending, for to them, your life is only just beginning.  Crawling through pieces of what used to be a car, to find a person lying there in need of CPR.

They are called Paramedics, a link between life and death, all give a priceless gift, the gift of breath.  The equipment they must carry, you may not understand, but one kneels beside you, as another takes your hand.  They feel the Angel standing there, but refuse to let you go, searching their deepest thoughts of knowledge that they know. 

Until such time their job complete, and you return to them, only then will they place you in a physician's hand.  They no sooner leave the hospital, another call comes through, lights flashing, sirens screaming, fighting traffic to get to you. 

A child this time in need of help, unsure of what went wrong,they begin their protocol of survey, soon realize this one is gone.  On bended knee, heads hung low, a tear slips down their cheek, always asking questions, looking for answers that they seek.

The shift will be a long one, twenty four hours to be exact, a proud profession that they chose, without even looking back.  And the next life that they save, to bring a loved one home, perhaps it will be your life, or it could be their own family.
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Three Paramedics were killed after a freight train slammed into their ambulance. 
Photos from Scott Wilson
Photos from Scott Wilson
A horrific train crash with the above pictures ambulance killed the three paramedics inside, but they succeeded in saving their patient.  EMTs Jeff Ferrand,37, and John Rook, 23, of Hope and Christopher Klingan, 23, of Texarkana, Texas, were thrown from the ambulance and killed.
While transporting a heart patient using lights and sirens a truck cut off their ambulance, in taking evasive actions the unit struck a tree killing 2 of the 3 medics.
2 Medics Killed, 1 Injured May 3, 2005
It is always interesting to see how the uninformed general public views the public safety sector.  From the comfort of your office, where it is apparent you have nothing better to do then stare out the window you come up with these gems of wisdom.

As for the amount of emergency vehicles at the scene of a fender bender on the freeway I ask you this, do you know how many paramedics, EMT's, police, and firefighters die at the scene of fender benders because the general driving public is too busy to pay attention to the road?  These are the same drivers that manage to have an accident in bumper to bumper traffic. 

The number of vehicles is to protect the emergency workers because the general public cannot be trusted to. As to the question of why do all of these vehicles need to respond, well ask your local personal injury lawyer.  It used to be that an adult who was alert oriented could make a decision not to be transported to the hospital, but then the lawyers needed to be heard from. 

So, after many police, fire and EMS workers have been sued as well as the towns and cities they work for, to protect themselves, those uninjured victims have to be carefully interviewed, examined, and documented before being released after refusing medical attention, since the lawyers will try to rip us apart if it is not done well. As for the charges imposed on those who use the services, it is a question of need and budgets. 

If all public safety departments never charge those who use the services, then the taxes for the entire population would be higher.  If you don't call 911 or are never involved in a traffic accident, or any number of accidents that can befall an average citizen, you will never have to pay.  ( On a side note, many if not all auto insurance policies cover ambulance and fire dept charges for an accident, and homeowners or business insurance covers the cost for fires and other needs of emergency services).

If you think you know everything about the operations of your departments, why not go and ask for a ride along on the ambulance and see why they are so busy taking grandma with a sprained ankle to the ED.  It is because emergency services cannot refuse a call. 

If you call 911 for a hangnail, an ambulance has to respond, and if you demand a transport to the hospital, we have to take you.  Since if we refuse, the lawyers have a great time raking up billable hours. If you think this should be changed, go to your elected representatives and get them to pass laws to give complete immunity to rescue workers, and laws to allow for the emergency dispatchers, paramedics, police officers and firefighters to decide on who needs transport and who is abusing the system. 

If you can do that, maybe you can tell me how to differentiate between a massive anteriolateral MI or is it a cold by using a blood pressure cuff, a stethoscope, and a penlight.
(Below is a response to a message that had been posted on a NAEMT list that was criticizing the number of Emergency Vehicle’s on scene of a minor injury accident, on a busy highway, as well as the use of patient refusal forms and billing.  The individual claimed the response is triggered to bill patients even if they were not transported, and finally the individual claimed that large responses are triggered because of “bored firefighters, police and EMS Personnel. 

In the State of Michigan a patient is not billed unless the patient is transported, also as Neal Smith points out below the number of Rescue personnel are too often killed or injured in this type of scene.
I want to thank Mr. Neal Smith for allowing me to reprint his response and hope that it serves as an educational tool for both EMS, Police, and Fire personnel as well as the general public.
And the Tragic Results
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Detroit man takes Medics Hostage
A 30-year-old Detroit Michigan man took two EMS Medics and a neighbor who came to check on his well being hostage.  Norman Dorise called 911 at 3:15 p.m. indicating that he had suffered an injury to his leg.  An EMS unit and two Medics were dispatched to the home.

When the Medics entered the home, Dorise pulled a gun on them, as well as a neighbor who came to the house.  The three were held at gunpoint.  Detroit Police were notified and responded; eventually police talked Dorise into releasing both the Medics and neighbor.  However a short time later Dorise; existed his residence brandishing the gun and then pointing the gun at Police. 

Officers on scene ordered the suspect to put down the weapon when he failed to do as told police officers were forced to fire striking Dorise several times in the buttocks, arms and pelvic regions.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy on Wednesday charged Norman Dorise of Detroit with three counts of kidnapping; one count of extortion; three counts of assault with intent to commit a felony; six counts of felonious assault; five counts of assault and resisting and obstructing a police officer and one count of felony firearm in connection with the New Year's Day 2007 incident.

If Dorise is convicted of kidnapping which carries a maximum penalty of up to life in prison in Michigan, in addition the other charges could result in a total of 38 years behind bars.

This story will continue to be updated. 
                                                                  Ambulance hits van carrying prisoners

An ambulance heading to an emergency at the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden crashed into a Sheriff’s Office van that was transporting inmates on Saturday, March 17, 2007.

The Rural Metro ambulance running with its lights and sirens on slide on the snow-slick road, It then hit the sheriff’s van, which was carrying about 15 inmates, stated a Rural Metro spokesman.  The van tipped over on its side, Lancaster police reported that no one escaped from the van and that there were no major injuries.

                                                                                        Car, Ambulance collide

March 18, 2007  A Berlin Heights, Ohio, teenager was seriously hurt when his vehicle and an ambulance collided Friday March 16, 2007, a 17 y/o male, was flown to University Medical Center after the collision. 

The young driver was northbound on Route 53 as a Marblehead Ambulance was headed east on Route 163 with its lights and siren activated, responding to a call. The Medic driving the Rig, Gordon Waugh, 44, of Marblehead drove through a red light and collided with the teen driver. The ambulance then struck another vehicle that was stopped at the red light the ambulance then went off the north side of the road and came to rest in a restaurant parking lot

There were four passengers from Marblehead in the ambulance: Dean Heberlein, 36, and Christie Heberlein, 32, who were not hurt, and Megan Hayner, 28, and Jane Podsiadlo, 50, who were taken to Magruder Hospital with minor injuries.

                                                                                     Ambulance Crash Kills Woman

March 18, 2007 A Carson California woman in her 20s was killed Saturday night March 18, 2007, in a three-vehicle crash that involved an ambulance and at least one overturned car.

Melissa Mae Fernandez Reguindin, 22, of San Marcos, was killed when the car she was riding in slammed into the back of an ambulance that had stopped to help a disabled vehicle at about 8:30 p.m. on the westbound Gardena Freeway.

The vehicle flipped over and burned with Fernandez Reguindin trapped in the front passenger's seat, A 26-year-old Carson man in the back seat suffered major injuries and was transported to a nearby hospital.

                                                                                    SUV crashes into Ambulance
A McHenry Township Fire Protection District ambulance was struck and rolled over early Saturday, March 18, 2007, leaving rescue personnel with minor injuries  The names of the injured Medics were not released.

The ambulance was southbound when it was struck by a sports utility vehicle driven by 60-year-old Robert J. Voss The ambulance was on its way to a call and had its lights and sirens on.

Voss was westbound and allegedly proceeded through the light, striking the ambulance; He added that both parties claimed to have the green light. Voss was cited with failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.
Ambulance personnel in the U.K. have suffered 99 physical assaults last year according to figures released by an NHS security watchdog.

The assaults on West Midlands ambulance staff were published today by the NHS Security Management Service as part of a report on assaults on NHS staff nationally.

November has been declared as NHS Security Awareness Month and staff throughout the Trust is already being given advice and information on personal safety, as part of the national campaign.

Steve Elliker, Local Security Management Specialist, for the Trust, is responsible for tackling violence and aggression against trust staff and seeking prosecutions against anyone who physically assaults staff. He is also responsible for protecting trust sites and assets and the security of drugs on trust sites and vehicles.

The assaults were recorded between April 2006 and March 2007.

So far there have been 28 successful prosecutions stemming from those cases and more are still in the court system.

Mr. Elliker said: "We do everything we can as a Trust, working with our staff, police and the Crown Prosecution Service, to bring anyone who assaults our staff, to court and to give out a clear message that this kind of behavior simply will not be tolerated."

Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Marsh, said: "Although attacks on staff are relatively rare, we want to send a strong warning to anyone out there that we will always make every attempt to prosecute anyone responsible for attacking members of our staff.

"While we understand our staff does sometimes arrive during traumatic and upsetting circumstances, they have a right to go about their work safely and the public have a duty to respect that and not to put our staff at risk of attack."

Throughout November, staff will be reminded of the policies and procedures for personal security and for reporting any incidents which do occur.

With approximately 3,000 operational staff, responding to 500,000 emergency calls every year, attacks on staff are the exception, rather than the norm, Mr. Marsh said.

He added: "However one assault is an assault too many."

Across England, statistics showed that in 2006/2007 there were 55,709 physical assaults against NHS staff, including 1,006 against ambulance trust staff nationally.

This was a reduction of 2,986 assaults in comparison with 2005/2006.
        Used with Permission
Source:  NHS Security Management Service
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Medic Shot While Transporting Shooting Victim
Paramedic continues to recover after he was shot twice on an Illinois Interstate.  His partner is credited with saving both his life and the life of the patient being transported.  Late Monday night, Paramedic Patrick Bierman was transporting a shooting victim when he was fired upon, police said.  A car approached the ambulance on the driver's side of the ambulance and opened fire, State Police indicate.

Bierman was struck twice in the arm and chest, but was able to pull over the ambulance. His partner was able to stabilize him, as well as the patient. Then he took the wheel and raced everyone to the hospital. Bierman was then airlifted to another hospital in St. Louis.

A car approached the ambulance on the driver's side of the ambulance and opened fire, State Police indicate.

Bierman was struck twice in the arm and chest, but was able to pull over the ambulance. His partner was able to stabilize him, as well as the patient. Then he took the wheel and raced everyone to the hospital. Bierman was then airlifted to another hospital in St. Louis.

The bullet entering the Medics arm, then entered his chest, but he may have to live with the bullet in his chest because it lodged too close to his aorta to take it out.  Bierman’s co-workers are now more concerned regarding their safety as well as Bierman’s medical status.  Illinois State Police continue their search for the shooters.

MEDStar Ambulance Owner Charlie Kelley was quoted this week as stating "You know we hear about these things that happen in a war zone some where, Iraq or Iran, and you don't think of it happening at home."
Sunday June 29, 2008 2 Medical Helicopters Collide in Flagstaff AZ 6 Killed 1 Critically Injured
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  Safety Board Targets Medical Helicopter Accidents
Washington-10-28-2008-Responding to a spate of fatal emergency medical helicopter accidents, a federal safety panel said Tuesday aviation officials are not acting quickly enough on proposals to prevent crashes.

The five-member National Transportation Safety Board in January 2006 urged the Federal Aviation Administration to take a series of steps to improve the safety of EMS helicopter flights.

At a meeting Tuesday, October 28, 2008, the Safety Board acknowledged that the FAA is working on the proposals, but not quickly enough. Over the past 11 months, nine emergency medical helicopters have crashed, killing 35 people.

"We need to put the foot down to the pedal here people are dying," Safety Board member Debbie Hersman stated.

The Board, which has no power to force the FAA to adopt its recommendations, voted unanimously to elevate the recommendations to its annual list of top safety priorities.  FAA spokesman Les Dorr said the agency has "worked extensively and aggressively with EMS helicopter operators to improve safety and to adopt better safety procedures and technology."

                                  The Board's four (4) recommendations include:

Require EMS helicopter operators to install Terrain Awareness Warning Systems (TAWS) on helicopters. The system warns pilots when helicopters are in danger of crashing into the ground, mountains and some buildings.

Safety board staff said several of the recent fatal crashes might have been prevented if the helicopters had had TAWS. They also said EMS operators could install TAWS now, but operators have told the board they're waiting for the FAA to act.

Require EMS flights that carry only medical personnel to follow the more stringent safety rules that apply to flights carrying patients and organs for donation. Of 55 emergency medical helicopter or plane crashes between January 2002 and January 2005, 10 crashes involved transporting medical personnel only and could have been prevented if the more stringent rules had been followed, the board said.

Require a formal flight risk evaluation before an EMS flight. Fifteen of the 55 crashes could have been prevented if such an evaluation had been made before takeoff, the board said.

Require EMS flights to use formalized dispatch procedures that include up-to-date weather information and assistance in flight risk-assessment decisions.

Last month, the pilot of an EMS helicopter struggled in darkness and fog while transporting victims from a car accident in Maryland. After the pilot radioed he was going to attempt to land, the helicopter crashed into a woodsy hillside in a suburban park, killing four of five occupants.

Maryland emergency officials have said that when the helicopter initially took off, there was seven miles of visibility. By the time of the crash, however, conditions had deteriorated to the point that the pilot had to rely on instruments to help him land.
   01-2009 NTSB EMS Helicopter Accident Preliminary Report's Released
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FAA Introduces New Medical Helicopter Rules
05-09  It is generally known that last year was the deadliest in emergency medical helicopter history, with accidents involving air-ambulance flights causing fatalities among patients and medical and flight crews. Finally, after much criticism and too many fatalities—35—last year alone—the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) just announced it has plans to improve air ambulance safety.  Director of the FAA’s flight standards service, John Allen, told a congressional aviation subcommittee that the FAA has begun “developing new, stricter rules for medical helicopters,” according to the Houston Chronicle.

Late last year, federal accident investigators announced that the air-ambulance industry and its regulators moved too slowly to stop the onslaughts of accidents that involved nine air-ambulance crashes and 35 deaths. According to a prior piece in the Washington Post, 29 deaths took place in the course of 13 emergency medical flights over one year, noting that the accidents, according to safety experts, were caused by human error or bad weather, to name a couple.

Five of the crashes involved night flying in poor weather in which the pilots were unprepared, said the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), according to an earlier USA Today report, which also noted that six deaths involved patients, representing the most deaths in a 12-month period for that industry. The NTSB also learned that pilots broke rules or exercised risky behavior—such as a pilot agreeing to fly in inclement weather after another pilot refused to do so—in three of the cases.

The move to increase safety standards follows numerous unprecedented, highly publicized patient deaths and accidents and ongoing criticism that regulators did not move quickly enough, said the Houston Chronicle. “The recent accident level is alarming and it is unacceptable,” said Robert Sumwalt, a member of the NTSB. “We are very pleased to hear the FAA announce a rule-making initiative,” quoted the Houston Chronicle.

Late last year, federal accident investigators announced that the air-ambulance industry and its regulators moved too slowly to stop the onslaughts of accidents and, in January 2006, the NTSB urged the FAA to make air-ambulance flights subject to more stringent operating rules, require companies to address possible risks before each flight, and install devices that warn pilots in danger of accidentally striking the ground or other obstructions. An earlier USA Today report revealed a number of cases in which pilots ignored or defied rules and the Washington Post noted that safety experts complain that medical helicopter regulations are more lenient that those governing general commercial aviation.

Other safety experts and lawmakers have also been after the FAA to mandate safety hardware for medical helicopters, said the Journal in a prior report, which pointed out that the FAA has relied on voluntary industry compliance instead. It took a number of scandalous accidents and numerous deaths for the FAA to take a closer look at ways to improve its operations.

Now, the FAA will require medical helicopter operators to change procedures and use new equipment; however, writing and implementing the rules could take years. The FAA is also calling for warning system installation to alert pilots before they fly into ground and will require operators to formalize the process for evaluating risks and deciding whether to accept flights.
Professionals who work in the field of Emergency Medical Services often risk their own safety to help others. EMT's, Paramedics, EMS Helicopter Pilots, Flight Nurses, and Flight Paramedics work tirelessly to provide the highest level of Pre-Hospital treatment to the sick and injured in every community, and every city.  They not only face danger working in confined spaces, all weather elements, dangers responding to and transporting by land, air, and over water.  Medics are being faced with assaults, deadly gunfire on scenes, and have even come under fire during transport. It is important to thank your Medics serving in your communities.  Not only during the Nationally designated EMS Week, but every day of the year.
NTSB Releases Probable Cause of Deadly PHI Chopper Crash
August 20, 2009, The NTSB has released a second report regarding the June 2008 crash of PHI AirMed 12, and indicates in the new report that weather was not a contributing factor in the crash.  In the first report that was released on August 14th, almost 7 months after the investigators' factual report was made public, the NTSB has listed the probable cause of the crash as, "The pilot's failure to identify and arrest the helicopter's descent, which resulted in its impact with terrain.  Contributing to the accident was the limited outside visual reference due to the dark night conditions.
                                                                                NTSB Reports & Photos
                                                                                NTSB PHI Crash Reports
Emergency Response Hazards
Firefighters, Paramedics, and Law enforcement officers, risk their lives as part of the normal course of performing their job, could also be at risk for a much more insidious threat than the immediacy of burns and injury they face every day. Mesothelioma – the deadly asbestos cancer which affects the outer lining of the heart, stomach and lungs – is of particular concern to firefighters.

First, it's important to understand what asbestos and Mesothelioma is, and how the two are linked. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral which, besides being strong, flexible and lightweight, has a remarkable ability to withstand fire and extremely high temperatures. For this reason it was widely used throughout the 20th century as an additive to insulating materials as well as to concrete and other industrial products. Asbestos has been used in insulation, floor and ceiling tiles, roof shingles and siding, pipe cement, joint compound and plaster.

When the asbestos remains stable within a structure, it is relatively safe. When it is destroyed or damaged, however, it releases millions of microscopic fibers into the air. These needlelike fibers can be inhaled or ingested, and once inside the human body, can be lodged in the soft tissues such as the organs or the mesothelium – a protective covering around the lungs, abdominal cavity and heart. Once there, the fibers cannot be removed.

Although it may take many years after the initial exposure to asbestos, these fibers can eventually cause the individual to develop pleural Mesothelioma, pleural plaques, and asbestosis or lung disease. All of these diseases are devastating. The prognosis for Mesothelioma, in part because it may not manifest itself until 20-50 years after the asbestos fibers were first breathed in, is particularly grim.

Anyone who comes into contact with damaged structures, such as residential or commercial buildings, especially those that were built between 1920 through 1980, are at risk for asbestos exposure. Unless proper safety procedures, such as the use of protective gear and respirators, are followed, the asbestos presents a grave threat to anyone in the vicinity.

Firefighters, of course, wear such protective clothing and use respirators when battling blazes. Why, then, are they so vulnerable to asbestos exposure and, in turn, Mesothelioma? The real risk comes during the overhaul portion of the job, once the fire has been contained and the workers are searching for hotspots or conducting other inspections. Since the fibers are not combustible, they may remain airborne during the aftermath of the blaze. Post-fire inspections, as well as entry and venting techniques, are sometimes conducted without proper respiratory protection. Ceilings or walls that are opened in order to determine that the fire is completely extinguished can also pose a significant hazard of asbestos exposure. Studies have shown that airborne toxins such as asbestos and PVC remain at high levels even after a fire has been extinguished. None of the active on-scene aspects of a firefighter's job should be performed without a respirator and protective gear.

The asbestos fibers, moreover, can settle on and cling to Firefighters, Paramedics, and Law enforcement officers, or other asbestos worker's clothing or protective equipment. There have been cases in which people have contracted Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases simply by handling contaminated clothing over a period of years, as a spouse or caregiver would. It is necessary to wash all clothing and safety equipment that may have become contaminated with asbestos – preferably at the scene, but otherwise as soon as possible after leaving the scene. Firefighters, Paramedics, and Law enforcement officers,  should also shower as soon as possible after a fire, to reduce the amount of airborne asbestos particulate which will remain on their skin.

Another technique for reducing the possibility of airborne asbestos fibers is to wet the building materials or any areas of the structure that have been damaged, including the remains of the fire itself.

Firefighters, Paramedics, and Law enforcement officers, face many hazards in the line of duty, and the risk of contracting Mesothelioma cancer or asbestos cancer are one of many potential risks involved in pursuing these heroic careers. With the proper safety protocols, however, a Emergency Service Personnel can help minimize the potential for harm from asbestos and other airborne toxins, as well as from the inferno itself.
Emma Connor
September 2009
Seven Air Medical; Ambulance Companies Agree     to Changes following 2008 Mid-Air Collisionn
03-2010 Seven air ambulance companies have agreed to make changes in how pilots communicate with each other as they approach a Flagstaff hospital.  The changes come as a result of the June 2008 mid-air collision of 2 medical helicopters that killed seven over the skies of Flagstaff.

The changes include well-defined approach paths laid out miles before Flagstaff Medical Center and a schedule for radio broadcasts on an assigned frequency intended for other pilots operating in the area to announce their exact location, estimated time of arrival, and route being used.

Federal findings on the possible causes of the 2008 crash centered on communications protocols that either were not followed by dispatchers and pilots or that did not provide an adequate safety margin.
South Dakota Careflight Helicopter Forced into Emergency Landing
06-16-2010 Fargo South Dakota--A Careflight Medical Helicopter enroute from the Avera St. Luke's Hospital made a safe emergency landing early Monday morning June 16, 2010, after what is believed to be the result of a bird strking the Meical Helicopter. 

The Crew included the Pilot, a Paramedic, and Flight Nurse were transporting a patient.  The pilot sustained minor injuries and was forced to make an emergency landing at the Fargo City Airport, the pilot was treated for injuries and the patient and the rest of the crew escaped injury.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.  The FAA believes that a a bird struck and shattered the Careflight's Medical Helicopter's windshield. 

The flight originated in Aberdeen South Dakota and enrout with a Patient to a Fargo South Dakota Hospital.
Updated:  February 26, 2013
               Medevac industry opposing upgrades wanted by NTSB
                                                      By Alan Levin, USA TODAY  August 19, 2010
The helicopter air ambulance industry is opposing several key safety upgrades sought by federal accident investigators even as a recent surge in crashes
Arkansas Air Evac Lifeteam Helicopter Crashes Enroute to Accident Scene
08-31-2010 Three crew members were killed in the Line of Duty early Tuesday when their medical helicopter they were aboard crashed in central Arkansas while they were enroute to a mva scene to transport a patient.

The Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter were enroute to pick up a person injured in a traffic accident, when their Bell 206 Helicopter went down near the Scotland community in Van Buren County, Arkansas, at about 4:30 a.m Tuesday August 31, 2010,  No "may day was sent out prior to the crash.

Click here to read the about the brave crew lost.
The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing New Flight Guidlines
                                 The proposed rules will require air ambulance operators to:
• Equip with Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems (HTAWS).
• The proposal seeks comments on requirements for light-weight aircraft recording systems (LARS).
• Conduct operations under Part 135, including flight crew time limitation and rest requirements, when medical personnel are on board.
• Establish operations control centers if they are certificate holders with 10 or more helicopter air ambulances.
• Institute pre-flight risk-analysis programs.
• Conduct safety briefings for medical personnel.
• Amend their operational requirements to include Visual Flight Rules (VFR) weather minimums, Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations at airports/heliports without weather reporting, procedures for VFR approaches, and VFR flight planning.
• Ensure their pilots in command hold an instrument rating.
Ray Sampson is a husband, a father, and has been a helicopter pilot, since his tour in Vietnam.  Ray Sampson has flown for Aero Med since the West Michigan based EMS Medical Helicopter began service over 25 years ago.

On Thursday May 29, 2008, Ray Sampson was in the pilot seat with an FAA official also on board a Sikorsky 76B a fourteen year old helicopter one of a fleet of three, when at 1058 a.m. the much respected and very experienced pilot was performing touch and go landing procedures at Spectrum Health’s-Butterworth Campus’s helipad which is located on the top of the 11 story hospital roof located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.  When something went terribly wrong, however Aero Med Pilot Ray Sampson stayed calm and reacted to what ever occurred due to his actions both he and the FAA official escaped the helicopter moments before it burst into flames leaving nothing but a white film shadow of the former helicopter.

Sampson’s quick thinking prevented the helicopter from falling to the ground where the outcome would have been much different and even more tragic in the terms of loss of life.  Ray’s thought process was remarkable, but so are Ray and his wife Linda who also works at Spectrum Health at the Butterworth Facility.  Linda and Ray met through their jobs her as a registration clerk and he a Pilot for Aero Med, they dated and later married, today they are raising two wonderful children.

Linda Sampson, who was working at the time of the crash and was notified prior to the media frenzy that had descended to the hospital to cover the crash,.  Those who know both Ray and Linda know of their great love together and their strong faith.  It was faith that saw them both thru this terrible incident.  In speaking to the media Linda described the survival of her husband and the FAA passenger as “miraculous,” And further stated “by the grace of God's hand, it just wasn't Ray’s time."  Linda was at her husband’s side minutes after the crash, at Spectrum-Butterworth Hospital in its level one Emergency Center.  At her husband side despite his injuries he had her go and pick-up their two children from school before they learned of the crash. 

By Friday May 30, 2008, Ray, was listed in stable condition at the Spectrum-Butterworth Hospital Campus.  Ray remained in the hospital over the next few days and was later released.  The FAA Official also was also listed in stable condition, and he too was released from the hospital.

The NTSB joined the FAA on Thursday May 29, 2008, following the crash of the Aero Med Helicopter on the Helipad roof.  The NTSB Friday May 30, 2008, continued to investigate the crash, stating it was far too soon to determine the cause of the accident, yet credited Pilot Ray Sampson for his quick reactions.

If my wife or our children were in need of air medical evacuation a month from now, I would want Ray Sampson at the controls of that helicopter, he is an exceptional pilot and a pilot who is very well skilled at what he does. 
There are few in the Kent County Emergency Services who have not met Ray, either from his classes dealing with Landing Zones, Aero Meds setup, as well as how to approach and depart the helicopter during scene flights. 

EMS Personnel, Firefighters, and Police officers through out West Michigan were visibly shaken in the moments following the news flash that Aero Med had crashed on the roof of Spectrum-Butterworth hospital. 

We all thank God for both Ray’s survival, as well as the survival of the FAA official.  Also the rest of the Aero Med Pilots, Flight Physicians, and Paramedic/RN’s, also are in our prayers.

Emergency Medical Services is a dangerous field thus far into 2008, thirteen EMT’s, Paramedic’s, Pilots, Flight Paramedics/RN’s and Flight Physicans has lost their lives in the line of duty.  Several more have sustained permanent disabilities from performing their duty as Medics. 

Please the next time you see a EMS Helicopter in the air say a prayer for the safety of the crew and their patient, and the next time an ambulance passes lights and siren please also say a prayer for the Medics and the patient they are responding to or transporting.

By:  David D.
Owner Dave’s EMS Headquarters
Original Post 05-2008
Updated 05-26-2011 3 years Later
  Aero Med Pilot Ray Sampson a Pilot and a Hero
Source:  Dave's EMS Headquarters/
Click here to View Animation of Crash and Survival
Click here to View NTSB Final Report and Corrective action
Information, Photos, and Updates:
Number of EMS Personnel who lost their lives in the "Line of Duty"