DRF Luftrettung, January 18, 2021 - High deployment figures also in the corona pandemic - that is the conclusion that the DRF Group draws on the occasion of the publication of its deployment figures for 2020.
Despite considerable challenges posed by the virus, the air rescuers were able to fully maintain their operational readiness through quickly implemented measures at the stations, in the maintenance workshop, in operations and in the administration.
The helicopters and aircraft of the DRF Group were alerted a total of 39,971 times in 2020.
The 35 stations of the DRF group in Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein as well as the air ambulance operations with a total of 39,971 missions are 98 percent of the previous year's level .
“We are proud that we were able to be there for people comprehensively even under these very difficult conditions”, says Dr. Krystian Pracz, chairman of the board of DRF Luftrettung.
"Adjustments to the duty rosters at the air stations, the workshop and in the administration and a partial change in the supply chains helped us to adjust to the new conditions very quickly at the beginning of the year."
Isolation carriers and two additional helicopters
In a next step, considerations were made as to how the DRF Luftrettung could contribute to the best possible management of the corona crisis and the stabilization of the health system beyond maintaining operations .
One result was the quick procurement of eleven isolation stretchers, called "EpiShuttles", and their immediate use at the stations which were used to transport patients with highly infectious diseases protecting both crew and patients alike.
With the EpiShuttle, the air rescuers save valuable time and can make the helicopter available again for missions very quickly, as the particularly complex disinfection of the helicopter after missions with infectious patients, including those infected with corona, is not necessary.
The non-profit organization was also able within a very short time put into service an additional helicopter, “Christoph 111” , at Karlsruhe / Baden-Baden Airport. it is primarily available for intensive care transports and relieves the public-law supply system. “Christoph 111” was alerted a total of 463 times last year.
Shortly before Christmas, another rescue helicopter started its service at the Bautzen station. “Christoph 114” will help relieve emergency operations in order to create free capacity for “Christoph 62” to relocate Covid 19 patients.
Award-winning neighborhood help
When the French health system reached its limits in the spring, the red and white air rescuers took over the transport of French patients to Germany and back.
"DRF Luftrettung is one of the oldest and most experienced air rescue organizations in Europe," said Dr. Pracz firmly. “As such, I clearly see our duty to assume responsibility for society as a whole and to help where necessary. We are of course very pleased that this commitment is now being honored with
the Adenauer-De Gaulle Prize award because it confirms our attitude that friendship has proven itself in principle and especially in difficult times and that we also survive in the corona pandemic having to reach out across borders. "
More winch operations, fewer car accidents
As in previous years, in 2020 cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks or strokes as well as accidents were among the most frequent reasons for alerting air rescuers.
But there were also deviations, possibly due to Corona: In April 2020, during the first lockdown, the air rescuers were only called about half as often for car accidents as the average in April 2018 and 2019, but more often for cycling accidents: Here there was an increase of 75 percent.
The rescue winches were also used much more frequently : the crews of the eight stations, those which have a winch on their helicopters, carried out the demanding missions a total of 457 times (2019: 404 missions).
Outlook for 2021
The corona virus will remain an important topic in 2021. Dr. However, Pracz looks to the future with confidence: “We have mastered the challenges of last year well and have proven that we as an organization are well positioned and able to act even under the most difficult conditions . In addition, vaccinations are now available which will hopefully ease the situation, provided we all continue to approach this challenge with the necessary discipline and consideration. What is certain is that we will continue to develop in the future and drive progress in air rescue, even in challenging times. "
Another example is the introduction of the H145 with a five-blade rotor, for which the starting signal was given with the first delivery at the end of 2020.
DRF Luftrettung invests in the latest technology for the benefit of its patients and is the first air rescue organization in Germany to use the five-blade rotor. The advantages of the new technology include, among other things, a higher payload in use and a hingeless rotor head, which means more flight comfort and less maintenance.
About DRF Luftrettung: The DRF Group, based in Filderstadt, is one of the largest air rescue organizations in Europe. The crews are ready for action around the clock at 14 of the 35 stations in Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein, and helicopters with rescue hoists are deployed at eight locations.
The Austrian ARA Flugrettung with two stations has been part of the DRF Group since 2001 and Northern HeliCopter GmbH (NHC), which has been performing air and water rescue operations at three stations, since 2019.
In addition, DRF Luftrettung is involved in the AP³ Luftrettung network at a station in Balzers / Liechtenstein. In addition, DRF Luftrettung brings back patients from abroad with its own ambulance aircraft. The non-profit air rescue organization is dependent on financial support for the continuous expansion of its life-saving task. The DRF eV already knows well over 400,000 sponsors by its side.
DRF Group 35 air stations figures for year 2020
The isolation stretcher EpiShuttle
introduced during the Coronavirus pandemic