Helicopter EMS (HEMS) teams may perform a variety of clinical, managerial and transport functions during major incident management. Despite national and international variations in HEMS systems, the rapid delivery of HEMS personnel with advanced skills in major incident management and clinical scene leadership has been crucial to the delivery of an effective medical response at previous incidents. This document outlines the Best Practice Advice of the European HEMS and Air Ambulance Committee (EHAC) Medical Working Group on how HEMS and Pre Hospital Critical Care teams may maximise the positive impact of their resources in the event of Major Incidents.
Narrative literature review and expert consensus.
To ensure a safe, coordinated and effective response, HEMS teams require suitable, proportionate and up to date major incident plans that are integrated into the major incident plans of other regional emergency and healthcare services. Role specific protocols, training and equipment should be adapted to the expected HEMS role in the major incident plan and likely regional threats. System and incident factors will influence HEMS utilisation during the major incident response and can include patient and staff transfer, equipment resupply, aerial assessment, search and rescue, clinical leadership and advanced care. During the recovery phase of a major incident there is a need to ensure restoration of conventional service and address the welfare of involved HEMS personnel. Standardised reporting of major incidents is strongly recommended for clinical governance, legal and research reasons.
The rapid delivery of HEMS personnel with advanced skills in Major Incident management and clinical scene leadership is crucial to the delivery of an effective medical response at Major Incidents.