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Air Med J. 1994 Jul;13(7):281-93.

The cost-effectiveness of air medical helicopter crash survival enhancements. An evaluation of the costs, benefits and effectiveness of injury prevention interventions.

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Aviation Science and Technology Inc., Bowie, MD 20176.



This study evaluates EMS helicopter-injury reduction interventions and associated costs for survivable crashes. Specific injury categories evaluated include head injuries, spinal injuries and thermal injuries. The benefits and costs of the preventive interventions are evaluated through cost-effectiveness analyses that provide a basis for informed safety-enhancement decisions for EMS helicopter operators, based on the most cost-efficient interventions.


The incidence and type of injuries experienced by EMS helicopter occupants were determined, and future risk of injury was estimated. Then the costs of those injuries, as well as the costs of the preventive interventions, were determined so estimates could be made of the cost benefits of the injuries prevented. Estimates were made regarding current levels of injury prevention interventions already in the field and their effectiveness in preventing injury.


Improvements can be made to reduce the risk of injury to medical crew and pilots in survivable crashes. Nomex uniforms, helmets, and energy-absorbing seats (EAS) for medical crew members all prove cost-effective in reducing preventable injuries in survivable crashes.


Emergency medical service helicopter occupants should wear fire-resistant uniforms and helmets, and medical crew members should have EAS systems when available. These EAS systems also are recommended for pilots, although they were not shown to be cost-effective based on the projections developed in this study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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