Structure of Rapid Response Car Operations in an Urban Trauma Service

Air Med J. May-Jun 2016;35(3):143-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amj.2015.12.015. Epub 2016 Mar 29.

Abstract

Objective: Emergency medical vehicle collisions are an inherent risk for health care providers, patients, and other road users. Air ambulance services often use rapid response cars (RRCs) to maintain operational resilience. We aim to describe the operational concept of London's Air Ambulance (LAA) RRCs and activity over a 1-year period.

Methods: This was a retrospective dispatch database study. The RRC operational concept, car configuration, and training are also described.

Results: LAA implemented principles from motorsports and aviation including car configuration, training, navigation, and communication. RRCs were activated a total of 2,241 times during the study period (average of 6.1 activations per day). RRCs traveled a total of 22,973 km and a median of 8.7 km (interquartile range = 5-15.1) with blue lights; there were missing data for 123 (5%) activations. Furthermore, the RRCs spent a total of 28,536 minutes with blue lights and a median of 12 minutes (interquartile range = 7-18); there were missing data for 89 (4%) activations. The safety management system included 5 reports, none of which were related to serious RRC incidents.

Conclusion: Translating lessons from aviation and motorsports, LAA has developed an RRC operation concept to improve safety and operational capacity. One-year operational data indicate high activity without any serious incidents.

MeSH terms

  • Air Ambulances / organization & administration*
  • Ambulances / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • London
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trauma Centers / organization & administration*
  • Urban Health Services / organization & administration*