The virus is a major challenge for the non-profit organization from Munich, Germany.
“The air rescue service is currently fully secured in Germany,” emphasized Managing Director at ADAC, Frédéric Bruder. “With our experience from the first wave, we are better prepared for the rise in Covid-19 transfer flights. We transport our patients, whether they have Covid-19 or not, safely and reliably in our helicopters as usual.”
There was praise from ADAC Air Rescue for the so-called ‘clover leaf concept’ of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. When capacities are tight, the federal and state governments want to distribute intensive care patients suffering from Covid-19 between the federal states. “This is an important and correct step to prevent regional bottlenecks in the care of corona intensive care patients at an early stage. In this way, we can react better and faster to such overloads in the air than we did in the spring,” explained Bruder.
First German rescue organization with TÜV seal
ADAC Luftrettung was recently the first rescue service organization in Germany to be awarded the seal of quality ‘Safe against Corona’ from TÜV Hessen. No one except the crews, which each consist of a pilot, emergency doctor and paramedic, currently have access to the air rescue stations.
There is a consistent minimization of contact within the crews. In order to protect them, as well as the patients in action and on the wards, from illness, the expenditure on protective suits, masks and goggles as well as disinfectants has risen from around €20,000 per year to more than €1.2 million since the outbreak of the pandemic. In order to protect the crews - and thus maintain emergency medical care for the population - so-called plasma ionizers are now also used for air purification in the ADAC HEMS Academy, the education and training center for helicopter pilots, emergency doctors and paramedics in Bonn-Hangelar. The reward for the investment: due to Covid-19 infections, there have been no restrictions on operational readiness to date.
Making adjustments immediately
The current developments are analyzed daily at ADAC Luftrettung, in order to make any adjustments to the processes or necessary investments immediately. In co-ordination with the parent company of ADAC Luftrettung, the non-profit ADAC Foundation, funds were made available at the beginning of the pandemic so that advance payments could be made quickly and pragmatically and all necessary unexpected investments to maintain the rescue service from the air with the usual flight and patient safety.
In the high phase of the pandemic from mid-March to the end of June, the flying yellow angels had flown around 450 Covid-19 missions and provided cross-border aid with special relocation transports from France and supported the Bundeswehr in its aid to Italy. In order to create additional capacities for emergencies and intensive care transfers, the first nationwide rescue and intensive care transport helicopter was stationed in Ludwigshafen in mid-April. Due to its equipment, ‘Christoph 112’ is ideally suited for the transport of patients with severe lung disease and can therefore be used for intensive care transfers of corona patients who also have to be ventilated during the transfer.
In Bavaria, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate, the flying yellow angels have also trained the police helicopter squadron on the special hygiene measures needed for transporting infections. Corona patients can now also be transported by the police in an emergency.
Recently, ADAC Luftrettung marked its 50th anniversary, looking back on decades of performing life-saving missions.