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Heard in the Hallways: Senate Proposals Surprises EMS World

By R&W Staff | August 1, 2007

A U.S. Senate call for new safety requirements on air medical operations has had helicopter EMS lobbyists scrambling.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) proposes requiring air medical operators to fly under FAR Part 135 whenever medical crewmembers were aboard, to train communications specialists as scheduled airline dispatchers, and to deploy terrain awareness and warning systems and voice and data recorders in a short timeframe. Strangely similar to NTSB recommendations on EMS safety, the provision wasn’t known to some lobbyists until the Senate published the bill, S.1300.

The panic stemmed from its inclusion in that legislation, the quadrennial FAA reauthorization bill, which must pass since it permits the FAA to exist. Lobbyists feared it being railroaded through on such vital legislation. But the House of Representatives’ reauthorization bill doesn’t have similar provisions, leaving time to address the matter in the reconciliation of those two versions.

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