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How to Select the Best Air Ambulance Company?

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It is always a very good idea to be prepared for medical emergencies before they happen.  That way you will know what you need to do and know which services are the best.  What if a family member were to suddenly become critically ill and need to be transported by air to a medical facility?  Would you know what to do or know how to go about finding the best air ambulance company?  Until we do some research, most of us are not prepared for this type of situation.

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That is why it pays to look into this potential situation ahead of time so that you can be well prepared in the event of an emergency.

What Is An Air Ambulance?

Air Ambulance

Air ambulances are business class aircraft (i.e. Lear, Gulfstream) that have been customized with medical equipment such as medications, life support equipment, respirators and stretchers, along with flight trained and specialized medical staff.   The staff may include doctors, nurses, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, respiratory therapists or other healthcare providers.

An air ambulance can be either a helicopter (rotary wing) or airplane (fixed wing).  Helicopters are typically used for trauma-related short distance emergency flights, whereas airplanes are used for longer distance transportation.

An air ambulance is necessary when a patient needs to be transported faster than a ground ambulance can accomplish, in cases where the patient needs to be moved a long distance or when using a ground ambulance is not practicable or advisable due to the state of the patient’s health.  Air ambulances can transport patients from medical facility to medical facility, or from the site of a medical emergency to a hospital.

Who Needs The Services Of An Air Ambulance?

Time, distance and state of health are the three primary factors that determine when a patient needs to be transported via an air ambulance.  If the patient is critically injured or ill and needs to get to a medical facility very quickly, air transportation might be necessary, particularly if there is no appropriate medical facility close by.

If the patient needs to be transported a long distance in order to see a specialist or go to a certain hospital or be flown from a different country, this is another situation where an air ambulance could very well be needed.

How To Evaluate An Air Ambulance Company

There are quite a number of factors to consider when choosing an air ambulance service.  That is why it is so important to do a lot of this research ahead of time.  If you wait until you are in the middle of an emergency, you will be very rushed for time and might not get the best service.  There are a number of different companies that offer medical air transportation. You can find a list of companies by going through your phone book or do searches on the Internet.

The important thing is to do further research on the qualifications of the companies and compare several different ones to see which ones are the best. Here are some of the main things to consider when choosing an air ambulance service:

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Company Experience And Reputation

Only choose an air ambulance service that has extensive experience and a solid reputation for delivering high quality services.  Check the safety record.  Does the company have any medical or aircraft-related accidents or incidents on its record?  Are there any lawsuits filed against the company for poor business practices or medical negligence?

Licenses, Certifications and Insurance

All air ambulance services are required to be licensed by the FFA.  Ask about other state licenses as well as professional certifications such as for advanced life support.  Companies providing medical air transportation services should also carry plenty of liability insurance. All medical staff and pilots should be licensed and have the proper training and continuing education requirements.

Availability

Time is of the essence when it come to medical air transportation.  Therefore, it is very important that the company have the ability to respond very quickly to medical emergencies.  Ask the company how long it will take for an air ambulance to arrive from the time they are contacted.

Aircraft

Find out what types of aircraft the various companies offer and what types of medical emergencies they are capable of responding to.  All aircraft must be licensed with the FAA and be well-maintained.  When you are checking the safety record, find out if there have been any issues with faulty equipment or aircraft.  The aircraft should also be fully equipped with a wide range of state-of-the-art medical equipment in order to handle various different medical emergencies and offer high quality medical care while in the air.

Staff

Ask what types of medical staff are aboard the planes and how many.  Find out what training and continuing education is required of the medical staff.  In addition to highly trained medical staff, the companies should also have highly qualified pilots as well as office personnel who can provide you with accurate price quotes, arrange the travel schedule and are well-versed in deal with insurance companies.

Price

It may be difficult to get an accurate price quote until you have an actual medical emergency.  However, one thing you can do is get price ranges and also have a clear understanding of what the quotes include so that you can accurately compare the quotes you get from different companies. Some insurance companies will cover the cost of medical air transportation and some won’t. Make sure the company you choose does work with on different financing options and is well-equipped to help you with any insurance-related matters you may have.

Choosing the best air ambulance company is mainly a matter of doing research and carefully comparing several companies to find the best one for you and your situation. If you take the time to do your research ahead of time, you will be prepared in the event an emergency strikes where air transportation is needed for the medical situation facing you or your family member.

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