Four Safety Tips to Keep in Mind

As we roll into the long holiday weekend, many will be celebrating with family and friends. From gatherings at the beach, lake, and mountains, to barbecues and late-night fireworks, new memories will be made. We want them to be positive ones, so your safety is paramount. Keep these safety tips in mind while enjoying the holiday with your loved ones.

Stay alert to rising summer temps. Outdoor summertime activitieswill be in full swing this holiday weekend.Keep in mind that temperatures are going to soar into the 100s in some regions of the country. The CDC defines extreme heat as summertime temperatures that are much hotter than average or humidity that is higher than average. Under these conditions, heat exhaustion and heat strokes can occur. While older adults and the very young are at the highest risk for a heat-related illness, anyone doing strenuous physical activity when it’s hot can be affected. Learn the warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and how to respond. For example, a heat stroke is a medical emergency that causes temps to spike to 103°F or higher. If someone has a heat stroke, dial 911 right away. Key signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating and cold, pale, clammy skin. Move them to a cool place, loosen clothing, and have them take a cool bath.

Follow these additional safety tips from the CDC when spending time outdoors:

Enjoy fireworks safely. Fireworks are often the main attraction of the July 4th holiday. While professional fireworks events may be canceled this year, there will be plenty of amateur fireworks displays. As you enjoy these events, it’s essential to keep in mind the dangers of fireworks. According to US Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 15,000 people were sent to hospital EDs in 2020 for fireworks injuries. For example, sparklers, a July 4th tradition that seems innocuous enough, can be dangerous, especially to young children. According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers can get as hot as 1,200° F and cause third-degree burns.

The CPSC and CDC offer the following commonsense precautions:

Have a safe travel plan. The roads, beaches, parks, and trails will be crowded with travelers this 4th of July weekend. Before the festivities kick-off, create your safe travel plan. Check the CDC for COVID-19 travel guidance. Also, plan to have a designated driver who will abstain from alcohol and drugs and will be alert and ready to take the wheel during holiday activities and long days on the road. When possible, don’t drive late at night to avoid impaired drivers.

EMS workers are here to provide lifesaving care. While an emergency is the last thing on your mind, should one occur, thousands of hardworking EMS workers will have you covered this holiday weekend. Additionally, our talented community of pilots, mechanics, and clinical professionals who cover more than 300 bases across 49 states are ready to provide access to lifesaving care at the moment it is needed most.

We want to congratulate our partner Vanderbilt LifeFlight, the 2020 Association of Air Medical Services transport program of the year, and other Tennessee public safety agencies for their lifesaving work at the 13th annual EMS Star of Life Awards.

Hosted by the Children’s Emergency Care Alliance (CECA), the EMS Star of Life Awards is a premier event that honors the accomplishments of EMS personnel across the state of Tennessee for provide exemplary lifesaving care to adult and pediatric patients. This event also reunites the EMS caregivers with the people they treated.

One recipient is chosen from each of the eight EMS regions in the state.

Vanderbilt LifeFlight received awards from three of the eight regions and was honored with the state-wide award, taking home a total of four awards. A LifeFlight team was also honored with a 2020 award.  

Region IV Award – Lake Tubing Accident

Region V (State Award) – Infant in Distress

Region VI Award – Motorcycle Crash

Region VII Award – Shooting

Vanderbilt University Medical Center provides all medical staffing, patient care and clinical services for Vanderbilt LifeFlight while Air Methods Corporation provides aviation, fuel, maintenance, aircraft, dispatch, billing and EMS licensure.

To learn more, please see the following EMS World article.

Our podcast, AMPED (Air Methods Prehospital Education) is back this week with a new installment. The podcast, which launched in early 2021, is designed for prehospital and in-hospital care providers and sheds light on the unique and challenging clinical scenarios faced by our emergency medical crews. It is a first-of-its-kind platform in which air medical and in-hospital clinicians can share their stories from the frontlines and learn from one-another’s unique experiences in providing lifesaving care.

In our previous episode, flight nurse Christopher Becker recounted his transport of a sick patient in shock. The AMPED Podcast crew, with the help of ICU docs Dr. Brian Fuller and Dr. Amjad Musleh, discussed the different types of shock and diagnosing its states.

In this week’s episode, airing Wednesday, we address treatment options for this patient. The AMPED team with Dr. Fuller, Dr. Musleh, and our new guest, Dr. Eliza Dunn, discuss which vasopressors, inotropes, or inodilators would be most helpful when treating this patient. 

The podcast is hosted by Joe Hill; Hawnwan “Phil” Moy, MD, Medical Director for ARCH, Air Methods Illinois and Missouri; and John Wilmas, MD, Medical Director for ARCH, Air Methods Illinois and Missouri. Collectively, the three hosts bring decades of experience in emergency medical services and an array of diverse perspectives to the table.

AMPED is available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more. To listen to the podcast and to see available streaming options, visit airmethods.com/newsroom/. To join the conversation, use the hashtag #AMPEDpod on social media.

It’s been a strange, stressful year for our flight paramedics and nurses in eastern Idaho, with pandemic challenges adding a new burden to their ordinary tasks of patient transport and wilderness rescue. A job that once consisted of ferrying critical patients from outlying hospitals to larger facilities and stabilizing patients from trips deep in the backcountry and national parks in Idaho and Wyoming, is now strained by the complications of COVID-19.

For Air Idaho flight paramedic Kimber Dameron, new challenges arose for her and many other EMS workers: forming bonds with patients through dense suits that made them look like something out of a sci-fi movie; keeping whatever they’d need for a call outside their new protective suits; and following the pace of a year that felt impossible to get ahead of.

In rural America, small medical centers have seen an influx of patients due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and many patients have been turned away because there is simply not enough room. Planning during the past year for virtually anyone running health care systems in eastern Idaho was tough. At times for some rural hospitals, without ICU beds or the resources to care for COVID-19 patients whose health was rapidly declining, transferring patients to hospitals was an hour-by-hour affair.

Check out the recent coverage of the selfless work Air Idaho Rescue crews are doing eastern Idaho.

Last week, we announced the launch of our Air Methods Prehospital Education (“AMPED”) podcast, which is designed for prehospital and in-hospital care providers and sheds light on the unique and challenging clinical scenarios faced by our emergency medical crews.

“Medicine is an ongoing educational and evolutionary process,” said Joe Hill, RN, clinical director for Air Methods and co-creator of AMPED. “AMPED serves as a first-of-its-kind platform in which air medical and in-hospital clinicians can share their stories from the frontlines and learn from each other’s unique experiences in providing lifesaving care.”

Air Methods’ crews encounter extraordinary obstacles on a daily basis that require significant expertise and the ability to handle highly stressful situations. They often serve as the lifeline for patients in rural areas without access to critical or emergent care. By providing a lens into the air medical profession, AMPED aims to foster greater understanding and respect among healthcare providers of all specialties.

The podcast is hosted by Joe Hill; Hawnwan “Phil” Moy, MD, Medical Director for Arch, Air Methods Illinois and Missouri; and John Wilmas, MD, Medical Director for Arch, Air Methods Illinois and Missouri. Collectively, the three hosts bring decades of experience in emergency medical services and an array of diverse perspectives to the table.

In the first episode, the hosts interview a flight nurse about a case in which a patient was catapulted from a motorcycle at 105 mph and needed emergency transport. The nurse recounts the unique details of the case and his medical decision-making process to ensure this patient received the highest quality care while in transport to the hospital.

AMPED is available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more. To listen to the podcast and to see available streaming options, visit airmethods.com/newsroom/.  The second episode is slated for release in March 2021. To join the conversation, use the hashtag #AMPEDpod on social media.

Our subsidiary in Kansas and Nebraska, LifeSave Transport (LifeSave), is adding to its growing teams in Kansas and Nebraska with opportunities available for pilots, nurses, paramedics, and A&P mechanics for both helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft. Bases are located throughout Kansas in Colby, Dodge City, Emporia, Garden City, Liberal, and Salina, as well as in McCook, Nebraska.

LifeSave is recruiting new crew members due to the growing need for air medical services in the region. At a time when more than 85 million Americans live more than an hour’s drive from Level I or II trauma centers, there is an increasing demand for air medical services to ensure that patients have access to necessary care centers.

“Access to lifesaving air medical services is incredibly important to communities throughout Kansas and Nebraska,” said Amy Conner, our vice president of customer experience.  “We have a wealth of talented teammates who serve these communities, and we are excited to add even more to our team. In emergency situations, minutes can mean the difference between life and death and it takes special people to answer that call.”

“Air medical staff all over the country have served bravely throughout the pandemic, not only caring for COVID patients, but also continuing to treat people suffering other serious illnesses and injuries,” our senior vice president of human resources, Heather Dumas, added. “We recognize the value of our frontline teammates and invest in them to be the best in the air medical industry. LifeSave is committed to a sense of purpose, a proud culture, opportunities for growth, extensive benefits, and a work/life balance that includes flexible scheduling.”

To apply, email your resume, area of interest, and contact information.

This past summer, Stephanie Queen joined the Air Methods executive team as the Senior Vice President of Clinical Services. With 20 years of nursing under her belt, Queen has leveraged her expertise and passion for improving the quality and safety of healthcare delivery across the country for Air Methods.

Before making the move to Colorado, Queen was at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, where she served in the role of Director of Clinical Operations for PICU, CVICU, Burn ICU, ECMO, Cardiac Step Down, CVVH, and Cath Lab. Prior to Riley Children’s, Queen worked as a registered nurse in the pediatric and adult oncology spaces.

It was during her time at Vanderbilt University, where she received her Doctorate in Nursing Practice, that she first learned about Air Methods. Vanderbilt LifeFlight, a subsidiary of Air Methods, is a world-class leader in critical care, providing innovative air medical transport services for the Nashville, Tennessee region.

“The mission of Air Methods really resonates with me, which is what drew me to the company,” Queen explained. “Air Methods is the best of the best and our driver is to be better and focus on what we need to do to think differently.”

Since joining Air Methods, Queen has focused on revamping the leadership culture and the education structure into one that emphasizes clinician support and fosters an excitement to learn. Another focus of hers is clinician burnout – a topic that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Being a clinician in the air medical field has its added stressors and Queen is committed to providing Air Methods clinicians with adequate PPE and training to ensure they can transport patients safely, effectively, and quickly. In recent weeks, Queen made the tough decision to turn clinician training virtual to minimize travel for in-person training labs.

“In the spirit of Thanksgiving this year, I am thankful for my family, my faith, and my incredible family here at Air Methods,” said Queen. “The work our teams do is admirable, and I don’t take lightly what a privilege it is to be making a difference in the lives of many across the country.”

(GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colorado, January 17, 2019) – Air Methods, a global leader in emergency air medical services, announced today that a lifesaving trauma-care prediction tool developed by its clinicians has been published in the textbook for the world’s leading emergency medicine continuing education (CE) program. The HEAVEN Criteria is now established as the gold standard process for airway management and will save lives in prehospital emergency settings.

HEAVEN, which stands for Hypoxemia, Extremes of size, Anatomic abnormalities, Vomit/blood/fluid, Exsanguination, Neck mobility, was developed by Air Methods’ clinical education manager David Olvera, NRP, FP-C, CMTE, and medical director Daniel Davis, M.D. The criteria serve as a quick and easily understood checklist for emergency clinicians to help them predict a complex tracheal intubation, a procedure which involves inserting a flexible tube into a throat to open the airway. 

The HEAVEN Criteria has been published in Prehospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS)(9th Edition), a textbook for the CE program from the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians in conjunction with the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons. PHTLS is taught in 64 countries and CE credits are earned by EMTs, paramedics, nurses, physician assistants, physicians, and other prehospital providers.

“Since adopting this analytic tool we have dramatically reduced our incidences of unsuccessful intubations, second-attempt intubations, and seen a dramatic increase in patient oxygenation which all lead to shorter hospital stays, better outcomes and dramatically lower mortality rates,” said Mike Allen, Air Methods’ president and chief operating officer. “Being included in the latest edition of the PHTLS textbook, which is the reference guide to all prehospital trauma care in the western world, is an amazing validation of our team’s professional standards and a clear indication of the respect they have earned across this discipline of medicine.”

Worldwide Recognition
Since the introduction of the HEAVEN Criteria in 2015, Air Methods’ clinicians have charted a first-attempt tracheal intubation success rate of greater than 90 percent, which is higher than in many hospital settings. Olvera also recently presented the HEAVEN Criteria at the World Airway Management Meeting, a prestigious medical conference normally reserved to anesthesiologists.

“It is a tremendous personal honor to have the result of our research and countless hours of evaluation and training featured in the leading textbook for practicing emergency medicine clinicians,” said Olvera. “As a clinician, it is also professionally gratifying to have the support of a company that dedicates such resources to developing effective, evidence-based techniques that advance the quality and safety of our care and, most importantly, help save lives.”

Protecting Patients and Supporting Clinicians
The HEAVEN Criteria is part of a greater Rapid Sequence Intubation (RSI) checklist that was created by Olvera and is part of Air Methods’ continued quality improvement process. The inspiration behind the checklist came from Olvera’s personal life when his wife, who was working 80 hours a week as a restaurant manager, accidentally took the wrong medication. Olvera realized that, even with his wife being a diabetic for 28 years, human factors came into play and she made a mistake in drawing up her medication. These mistakes can be attributed to exhaustion, hunger or distraction, all of which can occur when clinicians respond to emergency medical calls. This led to Olvera conducting extensive research and formulating new checklists and criteria. 

Olvera and Dr. Davis conducted research using Air Methods’ internal database of thousands of procedures and statistics to design the HEAVEN Criteria and through intense analysis to validate each point. The criteria was later approved by the Air Methods Institutional Review Board and published in an Air Medical Journal article co-authored with Dr. Davis.

“The HEAVEN Criteria has been an enormously helpful decision support tool for our clinicians in predicting a difficult airway and successfully intubating patients,” said Dr. Davis. “We are thrilled that the thousands of emergency clinicians participating in the PHTLS program worldwide will now learn from our research and experience and apply this life-saving best practice when responding to emergency medical situations.”


About Air Methods
Air Methods is the leading air medical service, delivering lifesaving care to more than 70,000 people every year. With nearly 40 years of air medical experience, Air Methods is the preferred partner for hospitals and one of the largest community-based providers of air medical services. United Rotorcraft is the Company’s products division specializing in the design and manufacture of aeromedical and aerospace technology. Air Methods’ fleet of owned, leased or maintained aircraft features more than 450 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. 

Media Contact:
Megan Smith
Amendola Communications for Air Methods
(404) 408-3379