Clear increase in missions: DRF Luftrettung publishes half-year review
DRF Luftrettung is reflecting on a busy six months for missions. The crews of the 29 HEMS bases nationwide and two ambulance aircraft received a total of 19,791 alerts from January to June 2022, which represents an increase of 8 per cent compared to the same period in the previous year. The non-profit air rescue organisation also made key progress with important developments and projects in the first half of the year. The training for the organisation’s first cohort of helicopter pilots is just about to start, for instance, and the joint project to develop a hoist simulator got under way.
Dr Krystian Pracz, Chairperson of the DRF Luftrettung Executive Board, summed up the achievements: “The high mission figures once again underscore the important role that air rescue plays in providing comprehensive emergency medical care to people in Germany. In the first half of the year, we were also able, once again, to achieve our aim of consistently driving the ongoing development of air rescue. One important milestone in this is our very own pilot training. The internal preparation work has been running at full speed in recent months and is now entering the final sprint towards the finish line. We were also able to reveal the start of a ground-breaking collaboration project with the manufacturer Reiser Simulation and Training recently to develop a hoist simulator, which we expect to launch in spring 2023 and which will offer entirely new possibilities for hoist training.”
Further hoist milestones
As well as launching the development of the new hoist simulator, DRF Luftrettung also had some other hoist-related milestones to celebrate. In mid-May, the HEMS base in Dortmund began operating the first civil helicopter in North Rhine-Westphalia to be equipped with a rescue hoist. Its first mission came just a few days later when a worker needed to be rescued from inaccessible terrain following a forestry accident. A new concept for airborne water rescue via hoist was recently introduced at the HEMS base in Freiburg. This came just in time for the summer season and means that the crew is fully prepared to deal with drowning or swimming-related accidents in bodies of water in the surrounding area.
Heart problems were the most common reason for alerts
During the first half of the year, the most common causes for emergency rescue missions for DRF Luftrettung involved patients with cardiac illness such as heart attacks (21 per cent) and neurological emergencies (18 per cent). These were followed by casualties injured due to falls (11 per cent) and traffic accidents (11 per cent). The organisation’s crews often offer unbeatable speed, especially in emergencies, reaching mission locations in a 60-kilometre radius within 15 minutes’ flying time. The crews of the eleven 24-hour HEMS bases nationwide were also frequently needed during the night – some 20 per cent of the crews’ missions in the first half of the year took place during night-time hours. The four hoist bases in Bautzen, Dortmund, Freiburg and Nuremberg (Christoph 27) also had plenty to do, recording 69 hoist missions in the first six months of 2022. The ambulance aircraft carried out 115 missions around the globe, which took them to 33 different countries.