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Medical Standards for Mountain Rescue Operations Using Helicopters

13 Jun 2011

Winter Rescue, Terrestrial and Helicopter


Tomazin, Iztok, John Ellerton, Oliver Reisten, Inigo Soteras, and Miha Avbelj. Medical standards for mountain rescue operations using helicopters: Official consensus recommendations of the International Commission for Mountain Emergency Medicine (ICAR MEDCOM). High Alt. Med. Biol. 12:335–341.—The purpose of this article is to establish medical recommendations for safe and effective Helicopter Emergency Medical Systems (HEMS) in countries with a dedicated mountain rescue service. A nonsystematic search was undertaken and a consensus among members of International Commission for Mountain Emergency Medicine (ICAR Medcom) was reached. For the severely injured or ill patient, survival depends on approach time and quality of medical treatment by high-level providers. Helicopters can provide significant shortening of the times involved in mountain rescue. Safety is of utmost importance and everything possible should be done to minimize risk. Even in the moun- tainous environment, the patient should be reached as quickly as possible (optimally<20min) and provided with on-site and en-route medical treatment according to international standards. The HEMS unit should be integrated into the Emergency Medical System of the region. All dispatchers should be aware of the specific problems encountered in mountainous areas. The nearest qualified HEMS team to the incident site, regardless of administrative boundaries, should be dispatched. The ‘air rescue optimal crew’ concept with its flexibility and adaptability of crewmembers ensures that all HEMS tasks can be performed. The helicopter and all equipment should be appropriate for the conditions and specific for mountain related emergencies. These recommenda- tions, agreed by ICAR Medcom, establish recommendations for safe and effective HEMS in mountain rescue.



Please look at the attached file for the complete recommendation!