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Operating from 31 helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) bases in Germany and Austria, DRF Luftrettung is operating helicopters for emergency rescue and the transport of intensive care patients between clinics 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In addition, DRF Luftrettung operates ambulance aircraft for worldwide repatriation of patients. In 2016, DRF Luftrettung was called 38,023 times to rescue missions in total. The crews of the ambulance aircraft took care of 198 patients in 46 countries in the previous year.
The pilots, emergency physicians and paramedics of DRF Luftrettung are ready to provide life-saving aid, 365 days a year. The crew arrives on-scene within a short period of time once alerted.
Also in 2016, DRF Luftrettung was very frequently alerted after traffic and leisure accidents. Approximately every fifth emergency patient of DRF Luftrettung had suffered a stroke or an acute coronary syndrome. Due to the increasing specialization of clinics and hospitals in certain medical conditions, there is often a huge distance between an emergency patient and the appropriate clinic. In such a case, the helicopter is by far the quickest and most efficient rescue method.
At its two HEMS bases in Austria, rescue missions in mountainous areas were frequent. The helicopters based in Tyrol and Carinthia are equipped with a cable winch, which is essential for rescue operations in alpine terrain. A specially-equipped offshore helicopter is additionally based at Güttin (isle of Rügen) to provide fast emergency service for offshore operations in the Baltic Sea.
The Operation Center of DRF Luftrettung at Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden Airport ensures the airworthiness of its own ambulance aircraft and helicopter fleet around the clock, 365 days a year. About 100 engineers are on duty for DRF Luftrettung.
The department IASS (International Aviation Sales and Service) offers a whole range of services of DRF Luftrettung to private, commercial and official aviation operators. National and international clients benefit not only from the extensive expertise in air rescue and the performance of the technical Service Center of DRF Luftrettung with its own design organization, but also from flight operation training.
Within Germany, DRF Luftrettung is one of the most experienced in 24-hour flight operations. The air rescue organization uses high tech night vision googles and modern helicopters such as the new Airbus Helicopters H145. This helicopter is well-suited for 24-hour air rescue missions, thanks to its performance capability and the Fenestron. Currently DRF Luftrettung operates seven H145 helicopters, and says more will be acquired.