Air Ambulance Services: Things You Need To Know If You Are In An Emergency

An air ambulance is an essential mode of transportation when there is a requirement for emergency healthcare. In case a person is in an accident, has suffered some kind of trauma, or needs special transportation for medical treatment, air ambulances can provide life-saving services. However, before you face the need to avail of such a facility, there are certain things you should be aware of.


Who Might Need an Air Ambulance?

Air ambulances are a specialized and crucial mode of air transport for people who are in need to reach a medical facility to avail of critical and specialized medical assistance. Following are a few examples of cases who can need an air ambulance:

  • Critical Accident
  • Accident in a remote location
  • Stroke
  • Cancer treatment
  • Organ replacement
  • Critical surgery
  • Trauma treatment
  • Senior people  

Critical patients who need to travel more than 250 miles are advised to avail of an air ambulance too.  


How Soon Can an Air Ambulance Be Arranged?

An air ambulance company should preferably be booked a few days in advance to allow them to prepare for the transportation needs of a patient, provided the circumstances permit. In cases of dire emergency within the country, they can also be arranged within 2-4 hours, depending on the location and the company providing the service. For international emergencies, the time to respond can depend on a few factors, such as international permits, visas, flight schedules, etc.  


How Much Does Air Ambulance Service Cost?

Air ambulances fares are expensive because the cost is determined by several aspects. The most important one of these factors is the location of the patient and how critical the situation is. The charges are usually billed per mile, so the greater the distance, the more it will cost. The charges are usually a bit lower if the service is booked in advance, however, this might not be possible in case of critical emergencies. In such situations, it is best to book the earliest available service since it can be a matter of life and death.  

In case you are traveling abroad, it is advisable to purchase travel insurance which includes air ambulance costs. Ask for details such as what kind of emergencies are covered and how much the coverage is. It is best to go for a 100% coverage because you never know how much the extras could amount to.


What to Look for When Choosing an International Service?

In case you fall ill or face a critical injury while on your trip abroad, time can be the most important factor in such a situation. It is advisable to research the best available International emergency medical service before you start on your trip, in case you face a circumstance where you might need their services.

An international emergency medical service that assists patients both aboard and on US soil would be ideal to choose from. Various countries have their governing bodies and local air regulations, so it is best to check up on the credibility of the services you are availing. You can look for accreditations and certifications by renowned bodies like the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS) and Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM).  

A credible International EMS will have a team of certified, trained, and experienced professionals. The team would have medical staff, airline crew, technicians, and ground staff who have been trained at government or renowned institutes.  


What Kind of Services Can You Expect?

Under the corresponding circumstances, the service provider should have options for both emergency and non-emergency situations. They should be able to arrange for bed-to-bed transportation, doctor’s appointments, blood or organ supplies, and other required medical assistance. The provider should also have 24 hours dedicated hotline to provide arrangements and information.  


Can Your Family Members Accompany You?

One or two family members are usually allowed to accompany the patient without any extra charge. The number of family members allowed depends on the air ambulance company, situation of the patient, personnel and equipment aboard, and the type of flying ambulance provided.  


Can Air Ambulances Fly at Night?

Air ambulances are allowed to fly at night, however, all airports do not facilitate night landings. Depending on your location and your medical destination, chances are that you might have to travel a bit on land in case you are being transported at night. Helicopter pilots often fly at night using night goggles.  


How Fast Do Ambulance Helicopters Fly?

The speed of helicopters depends on the aircraft frame. Most helicopters can fly up to 155 miles per hour under ideal circumstances. However, in real terms, they fly at around 120 miles per hour. Defense medevac helicopters can fly up to 240 miles per hour.  

Helicopters need about 100 square feet of area to land and can air-lift patients from streets or highways as well. On 24th May a critically injured motorcycle rider was airlifted from HWY 299 in California. The injured rider is presently under critical medical treatment.


More than 500,000 patients avail services of air ambulances every year in the US. The air ambulance industry has grown exponentially since the turn of the century. During the last five years, industry revenues have seen a growth of 1.8% annually.  

Even though it would be favorable that you do not need air ambulance services, you know what they say. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.



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Written by HealthStatus Crew
Medical Writer & Editor

HealthStatus teams with authors from organizations to share interesting ideas, products and new health information to our readers.

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