The USA Today reported on Thursday, August 19th that the medevac industry is resisting safety improvements to the helicopter fleet. At first blush to a hiker or climber, the changes the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is seeking be mandated seem more than reasonable. However, these could have server financial consequences that might limit rescue service, raise the rescued person’s expenses for being retrieved and increase insurance costs.
Despite that a high number of deaths and accidents have occurred in the recent months involving medevac, the people entering the wilderness have assumed the risk (in my book) by going into the backcountry. Hikers and climbers are very knowledgeable today about the risks and that even a rescue is dangerous.
The NTSB wants to require that medevac helicopters all be equipped with night vision goggles and certain safety alarms regarding terrain. These are costly and the medevac industry said they encourage them but do not require them because of the cost. These are expensive purchases and would effect every medevac business’ bottom line.
How would they pay for it? By limiting other services by hiring less expensive pilots and medical technicians. Or the price would be seen on your bill. It is also like to raise the premiums of adventure travel insurance. The NTSB is talking about a perfect world. Unfortunately we live in an expensive one. One that we as hikers and climbers should know the risks.
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