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Soldiers assigned to the 1-143 Infantry Regiment, Airborne Battalion, help transfer a patient to an Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter at a medical treatment facility in Port Arthur, Texas. Photo: Spc. Austin T. Boucher


CIVIL OPERATORS SUPPORT MEDICAL NEEDS, HUMANITARIAN EFFORTS AND INFRASTRUCTURE


Civilian helicopter operators were especially critical for air ambulance and other humanitarian and infrastructure demands during Hurricane Harvey rescue efforts.


After the catastrophic 2005 hurricane season, FEMA officials concluded they needed a comprehensive EMS response plan for federally declared disasters. Two years later, FEMA named American Medical Response (AMR) as the sole contractor for a full array of ground ambulance, air ambulance, and para-transit services to supplement the federal and military response to a disaster, act of terrorism or other public health emergency. AMR must provide as many as 1,200 ground ambulances, 100 air ambulances, and 14,000 para-transit seats at a time, so it’s no surprise it utilizes subcontractors to meet this requirement.


Air Evac Lifeteam was one of those AMR subcontractors during the Hurricane Harvey disaster response, committing in its subcontract to provide as many as 10 rotor wing assets within 24 hours of a request, Air Evac safety manager Tom Baldwin explained. Air Evac deployed 13 Bell 206L4s and one Bell 407 with approximately 100 personnel from Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, filling the Apache Hangar at the George Bush Intercontinental/Houston Airport in Houston. Personnel included incident commanders, aviation managers, and a logistics team alongside the air medical and maintenance crews. Air Evac conducted 50 missions. Sometimes Air Evac crews picked up patients at hospitals; other times pilots had to land on highways to meet ground ambulances or land directly at accident scenes. With ample lighting around obstacles and the landing site, and an end to torrential rains, an


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Sep/Oct 2017


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