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NEMSPA - It's Your Association

Posted 14 years 8 days ago ago by Admin

NEMSPA – It’s Your Association

While a number of members of the National EMS Pilots Association have been involved and have made contributions to NEMSPA’s activities through years, the strength of numbers continues to be a challenge for this EMS pilot’s professional organization. Regardless of the number of awards obtained, initiatives launched and regulatory actions influenced, we believe we that our effectiveness will not rise to the level that we all need and desire so long as there are so many EMS pilots who choose not to be involved, in some way or another, with the workings of the association that represents them on a daily basis. That’s right, NEMSPA provides support and representation to every EMS pilot in the nation, regardless of whether those pilots support our efforts or not.
The NEMSPA board of directors is now directing more attention toward EMS pilots who have not yet joined the association. Many of these pilots might ask, “Why should I, as an EMS pilot, join NEMSPA”? We’ll give you six major reasons.
Reason #1 – NEMSPA is Your Professional Association
NEMSPA is the sole organization that speaks exclusively for EMS pilots. Its 12-member board of directors consists of 12 active EMS pilots. Every voting member is an active EMS pilot. If you are an EMS pilot, NEMSPA is your organization and is the primary platform available to you to express your concerns and suggestions regarding the aviation component of air medical transport operations. It is an association representing EMS pilots that is managed and directed exclusively by EMS pilots.
Reason #2 – NEMSPA Needs Your Help
In addition to the support that your membership provides to NEMSPA’s primary goal of promoting safety and aviation best practices in air medical operations, we could also use help from members in a number of other areas. These include the design and functionality of the NEMSPA web, management of EMS pilot online discussion forums, magazine article production and review and a greater involvement in the selection process for the NEMSPA pilot of the year. Do you have an interest or skill in a particular area and have a few extra hours that you would occasionally contribute? Let us know by emailing us at [email protected]
Reason #3 – NEMSPA Needs Your Input
In an effort to insure that our efforts represent a consensus of industry pilots, NEMSPA has conducted three critical surveys during the past 18 months. The first, which garnered nearly 800 responses, focused on the HEMS pilot’s perspective of night vision goggles. The second, which received a similar number of responses, dealt with pilot fatigue issues. The third was a cultural survey conducted nearly a year ago which proved to be the precursor to the No Pressure Initiative. You can review the essence of the No Pressure Initiative on the NEMSPA website. The results of these three surveys have already provided the basis for significant safety enhancements in our industry, all of which have benefited industry pilots. We solicit suggestions and comments from members on a regular basis. Your voice really does count.
Reason #4 – Strength in Numbers
NEMSPA strives to represent the needs and professional opinions of EMS pilots across the nation, and in this respect has gained the attention of numerous agencies related to the industry.   But frankly, an important factor in any organization’s ability to effect change and progression is simple numbers. There is no question that having more members translates into a louder voice when speaking with other industry stakeholders about how to address our current challenges. There are many other associations in the industry make up of concerned people who have never sat at the controls of an EMS aircraft. Many of them feel compelled to define what the causes of the industry’s disturbing safety record are, and exactly how it should be fixed. Should industry pilots remain silent while non-aviators, however good their intentions, formulate new policies and regulations that will directly impact aeronautical decision making? Join NEMSPA and share your experience and recommendations with the nationwide air medical community and federal agencies that provide oversight to our operations.
Reason #5 – Benefits to You
There are a number of benefits to you as an individual, including a free Will provided by NEMSPA’s affiliate attorney, discounted insurance from sources that understand the needs of professional pilots, and access to the member’s only section of www.nemspa.org. You will also receive each bi-monthly edition of the Air Medical Journal.
Reason #6 – Proud to Belong
NEMSPA has accomplished a great deal in your behalf (see sidebar – “Recent Accomplishments”). Much of the work done has benefited not only you as a pilot, but your medical crewmembers and patients as well. The board of directors serving the NEMSPA membership represents more years in the industry and more hours in the cockpit than any other group within the air medical community. You can be proud to belong and contribute to a progressive association that is clearly fulfilling its promise to “lead the way to a safer air medical industry.”
Are you an air medical pilot and not yet a member of NEMSPA? Please go to www.nemspa.org and check out YOUR association. We need you!
So what is NEMSPA? Using information obtained from the Association by-laws and the NEMSPA website, one of our board members summarized the purpose and makeup of NEMSPA as follows:
The association is membership-based and derives its director leadership from its members through biennial elections or by special election whenever a vacancy occurs. The Board of Directors who work with appropriate governmental agencies represents NEMSPA members and various industry associations to develop, recommend, and implement standards involving aviation issues. These activities address aviation safety and aviation regulations, flight and crewmember safety, air medical flight operations, EMS aircraft and their associated technology, and any other pilot-related issues deemed appropriate by the Board of Directors and by the membership. The association may also collect and publish statistical information, and formally recognize individuals who make significant contributions to the safety and excellence of the industry. NEMSPA has no formal affiliation with any labor union and does not address issues related to compensation for hire but will address working conditions as they relate to safety.
There are 12 positions on the Board of Directors. Each director is elected by the membership for a two-year term. The Executive Board members are the president, president elect, secretary, and treasurer. Other board members will hold a position within the board such as safety director, membership director, governmental affairs director, CAMTS liaison, education director, or other positions that are developed by the board to address current issues.
So what has NEMSPA done for you as an EMS pilot? Some recent highlights include the following:
Representation at NTSB Hearings
NEMSPA presented a paper, titled “An Opportunity to Improve” at historic NTSB hearings in February of 2009. We were provided one of the five tables on the floor of the hearing and provided major input to the deliberations that took place. The hearing agenda often centered on the ten recommendations outlined in our position paper. Many of those issues were reflected in the final recommendations made by the NTSB to the FAA and to other agencies.
Promotion of Night Vision Goggles
NEMSPA has met with key FAA representatives numerous times to promote the use and benefit of NVGs. The NEMSPA sponsored NVG survey, which collected nearly 800 responses from industry pilots, has been used extensively in the industry to show the importance of “seeing at night.” NEMSPA hosted key rule makers from the FAA in Salt Lake City in August of 2008, where actual NVG demonstrations were conducted in a demanding mountainous environment. We believe these combined efforts have resulted in the change of focus to NVGs as the single most important technology for the safety of HEMS night operations.
No Pressure Initiative
NEMSPA received the prestigious Vision Zero Award at AMTC 2009 for its development of the No Pressure Initiative, which was begun following a survey conducted among EMS pilots early in 2009. This survey indicated that “internal and external pressures” to accept and continue flights in adverse conditions is a significant problem in air medical operations. NEMSPA formed a collaborative group with AAMS, ASTNA, IAFP, NAACS and AMPA to evaluate and mitigate the pressure problem in a very direct manner. 
Support for this initiative has come from all corners of the industry, including HAI (Helicopter Association International), AMOA (Air Medical Operators Association) and ACCT (Association of Critical Care Transport). The second phase of this project was launched at a well-attended retreat in Salt Lake City in January of 2010. The objective is to conduct a nationwide survey at the level of air medical provider programs with the intent of identifying specific pressures and to provide individual programs with a cultural health assessment. Bottom line result: program directors will know where the weak areas are within your particular culture and will then be able to make improvements using recommended mitigations.
Fatigue and Alert Management
Most EMS pilots are aware that there was a movement in 2008 that would have resulted in EMS pilots being prohibited from sleeping (beyond a short nap) while on duty. What may not be as well known is that NEMSPA, working very closely with sleep and fatigue expert Dr. Mark Rosekind, diverted that premature action toward a more scientific evaluation of the effects of fatigue on 24/7 air medical crewmembers. The resulting white paper, which addresses the benefits of obtaining sleep when possible during night shifts, can be found at www.nemspa.org. NEMSPA is continuing to work actively with Dr. Rosekind, a world recognized expert in sleep and fatigue management, to applying the Z-Coach alert management training program to EMS operations. NEMSPA conducted a fatigue survey among nearly 600 pilots in 2008. It is expected that the results of that study will be published in the Air Medical Journal sometime in 2010.
National Helipad Database
NEMSPA is currently working with ASN (Aviation Safety Network) in the development of a national database of EMS helipads. This database will provide current static helipad data, such as pictorial information, size, location, and communications information. It will also allow pilot input of temporary hazards (NOTAMS), such as cranes, hazardous debris, etc. 
Landing Zone Guidelines
NEMSPA publishes a widely used LZ Guidelines booklet. The information contained in the NEMSPA booklet has been incorporated into the Airman’s Information Manual.
Helipad Warning Signs
NEMSPA recently announced a helipad warning sign that meets FAA requirements and is OSHA and ANSI compliant. Hospitals and operators can purchase these signs, which may be produced with their own logo, directly from www.nemspa.org