November 25, 2013

Why Angel MedFlight Is The Superior Choice For Medical Transport Today

Looking For An Air Ambulance Medical Flight Company?

If you choose the wrong medical air transport company, you could put yourself, your family member, or your loved on at risk. Even though you might not be an expert on air transport companies, it is fairly easy to see what separates the best transporters from the rest of the pack. Find out why Angel MedFlight is a leader in the medical transport industry and a top choice with medical professionals and patients.

Why Use A LearJet vs. A Prop Planes
Even today, many air transporters still rely upon old-fashioned and slow prop planes for medical transport. Props are slower and more vulnerable to adverse weather conditions. Angel only uses modern and high-quality jets in order to provide fast and reliable service to patients.

Owned vs. Leased Planes
It is hard to believe that lots of medical transport flight companies lease their planes from brokers. How can they be sure these planes are kept in tip-top condition. In addition, this means that these companies cannot stock medical supplies on board, but they might have to carry them on and off for each flight. Angel owns their own fleet of name-brand and high-quality jets. Each plane is serviced by an expert ground crew between flights. This ground crew is employed by the company, and they hold their work to very high standards because the safety of their fellow employees and patients depends upon their work. So does the good and established reputation of the company. Why Is Angel MedFlight The Air Transport Company Of Choice? In addition to an expert ground crew, this company employs an experienced and trained flight crew. This crew includes pilots who will actually fly the plane. It also includes the nurses and paramedics who will be there to care for each patient they take on board. Furthermore, these crews are all used to relying upon each other. They are also used to the on-board medical equipment that is needed to make sure that each patient flies in comfort and safety to any destination you ask for.

How To Prepare Patients For Transport By Air

The way that you need to prepare your patient depends upon the nature of their injury or medical condition. Patients with spine injuries, for example, might need to be immobilized for their protection. Trauma patients might need to be kept warm. The company can supply you with guidelines that are taken from medical experts in air transport. Will Insurance Cover An Air Transport In many cases, the flight will be covered like any other ambulance. Angel MedFlight also has a trained office staff that can help with insurance and billing. Choose Angel MedFlight When Patient's Lives Matter You can learn more about this reliable medical air transport company at : When you consider the fact that this established company owns their own fleet of jets, employes trained crews in the air and on the ground, and has a great reputation as a leader in the air ambulance industry, they should become your first choice. You can read more articles on air ambulances and medical flights by visiting Air Ambulance Articles.

October 31, 2013

My Real Life Moment™ Patient Stories Return Nov. 7

By Angel MedFlight Contributor 

They are heart-touching stories that we as an air ambulance company are honored to be able to pass along to you. Patients we have transported have allowed us to share their experiences through a series of videos entitled "My Real Life Moment™." Through this award-winning series, Angel MedFlight has been able to tell the story of a young cancer patient and how he was flown home through the help of an anonymous donor. We shared the moving story of a mother who had suffered through numerous miscarriages before being blessed with four surviving quintuplets. Viewers ride along as Angel MedFlight transports them home to be reunited with their father, a wounded combat veteran. We are proud to announce that after an Emmy award-winning first season, "My Real Life Moment™" is returning next month with all new episodes. 

The first season concluded with "My Real Life Moment™ - The Taylor Collins Project," the inspiring story of a Florida high school student and how her school's student government association came together to find her a medical flight to Miami for specialized medical treatment. In the end, Collins' schoolmates gather in a hushed classroom and when the teen-ager enters, the room explodes into a chorus of "Surprise!" Wearing a crown and toting a bouquet of roses, Taylor Collins is queen for a day as she gets the long-awaited air ambulance transport to Miami.

In October, the uplifting story of a group of schoolmates banding together to help someone in need earned Angel MedFlight an Emmy Award.  The video was awarded in the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter's Teen (13 and up) - Program Feature/Segment category.

"At its core, 'My Real Life Moment™' is a platform for patients to share their stories and lend their voices to others who experience similar trauma. Our primary focus is to enhance patient advocacy -- we created this with the families in mind, so the fact that this is being recognized regionally is a great honor," said Angel MedFlight Chief Creative Officer, Barry Keyles.

In the next season of "My Real Life Moment™," Angel MedFlight will introduce you to an endearing homeless man in San Francisco who is critically injured by a hit-and-run driver. After almost a year of rehabilitation, Rowe gets a medical flight home to Georgia after a community-wide fundraising effort. An effort that displayed love and devotion from family and friends.

Other videos coming later this month will feature a brave Army sergeant who survived multiple overseas deployments only to sustain a severe traumatic brain injury in an auto accident after returning home. You'll meet a young man who suffers a major stroke while on vacation in Jamaica and could not get home to Massachusetts until Angel MedFlight came forward to provide the air medical transportation. In another story, the parents of an infant born with a rare medical condition are shown with their adorable little son. The father says babies born with their son's condition have a lifespan of 18 months and with determination adds, "That just wasn't good enough for us." Later, the father says, "We going to be a family again. We haven't been a family in a while."

Angel MedFlight is honored the patients and families featured in "My Real Life Moment™" have allowed us to share their stories in order to help others who may be undergoing similar experiences in their lives.

Care, compassion and inspiring human will. The next season of Angel MedFlight's "My Real Life Moment™ debuts Nov. 7 on Facebook and YouTube. 

Air Ambulance Company Checks out Latest Aviation Trends at NBAA13

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

Angel MedFlight and Aviation West Charters recently returned from the National Business Aviation Association's 2013 convention and exhibition in Las Vegas. Our team and 25,000 other attendees roamed the huge convention halls, networking and checking out the latest in business aircraft and aviation technology. 

NBAA13 was a three-day event held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, which was filled with over 1,100 exhibitors displaying the latest products and services. If that wasn't enough, attendees could take in the static display of 83 fixed-wing aircraft at Henderson Executive Airport. Another dozen light business airplanes and helicopters were parked inside the convention center.

"Aviation is changing so rapidly, " says Aviation West Charters Director of Flight Operations, Brandon Kearns. "It seems every six months there are new product lines and technologies. NBAA13 was an opportunity for our company to see what is currently being offered to the aviation industry, what's the next big thing, what's the latest and greatest technology."

Kearns says attending a convention like this gives us a good idea of what the level of expectation of the end user really is. "Clients will get on one of those new airplanes and that will set the bar for them. So if you show up with an aircraft that is far below that level, it will be a big difference for them." says Kearns. In the business of aircraft management, Kearns says one must have a handle on what the "first class is now and where it's heading." 

"If you stuck around and just had the same old airplanes all the time and said, 'this is first class,' that's great but your first class would never be pushed to the next level. It would never be redefined because you would never see anything else. That's why it's good to expose yourself to external audits or attend  events like NBAA13 and find out how aircraft manufacturers are addressing the passengers' needs."

The convention, which is the sixth-largest trade show in the United States, gave Angel MedFlight a unique window on the business aviation world. Director of Business Development, Chandra Stewart says NBAA13 gave the company a chance "to gather market and business intelligence. Fixed base operators, aircraft maintenance and sales, we looked at how these companies are marketing, who they're partnering with and what need they might have that we could fill or how we could get involved with them for building our business base."

The NBAA is a trade association that represents the interests of business aviation. Founded in 1947, the NBAA establishes industry standards aimed at enhancing safety and the efficiency and acceptance of business aviation.

NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen chalked up this year's show as a big success. "The energy and enthusiasm among exhibitors and attendees has demonstrated once again the tremendous value the industry continues to place on this event as premier national and international business aviation venue."

At Angel MedFlight we make safety the top priority along with the highest level of care and comfort for our patients. The information we brought back from NBAA13 will help keep Angel MedFlight and Aviation West Charters on the leading edge in the medical flight and business aviation industries.

CDC: Vaccine Offers Best Protection Against the Flu

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

Flu season is here and it's time to start thinking about getting a flu shot.  Promoting a healthy workplace is extremely important to us here at Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance and recently employees were given the opportunity to get their flu shot. Consider that a brief needle stick in the arm can help protect against a virus that hospitalizes over 226,000 people in the U.S. each year. Thousands will die from the flu and its complications.  

Rebecca Van Pelt, R.N., is Angel MedFlight's Chief Administrative Officer. "We offered a flu shot clinic to our employees this year after many of them were affected by the flu virus last year, " said Van Pelt. "As our company grows, our office space is getting cozier. Plus, our flight crews being in and out of airports, ambulances, and hospitals - they are particularly at risk of being exposed to the flu virus in their work."

What is the flu? Influenza is a contagious disease that spreads around the U.S. every winter. The flu season usually starts in October and runs into May. The disease is caused by the influenza virus and can be spread by coughing, sneezing and close contact. Most experts believe you can get the flu when a person who has the disease coughs, sneezes, or talks and droplets containing their germs land in your mouth or nose. You can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose.

While anyone can get the flu, the risk of getting flu is highest among children. The symptoms come on suddenly and can last several days. Symptoms of the flu include fever/chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache and runny or stuffy nose.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says the best way to protect yourself from the flu is the flu vaccine. This season's vaccine is now available at various locations including health clinics and drugstores. One of the easiest ways to find who has the vaccine is by going to the Flu Vaccine Finder on the website. There you just type in your zip code and the finder will generate a map with red markers on it showing where the vaccine is available. There are also detailed listings on the page that include location addresses, phone numbers, hours,  and what types of vaccines are available at specific locations.

Who should get a flu shot? The CDC recommends everyone six months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu. It's also recommended to get the vaccine as soon as it's available in your area.

There are two types of flu vaccines available this season. The traditional vaccines, called the trivalent vaccines, protect against three flu viruses: H1NA, H3N2 and an influenza B virus. This season there are also vaccines being produced to protect against four flu viruses. These are called quadrivalent vaccines and they protect against  the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine plus an additional B virus.
Remember that it takes about two weeks for protection to develop after getting the flu shot and protection lasts several months to a year.

Van Pelt says that being in HR, she gets an interesting look at how the flu season can impact employees. " We hope that providing easy access to the flu vaccine for our employees this year will help lessen the negative impact."

Angel MedFlight, a leader in worldwide medical flights, and the CDC remind you that flu vaccine is the best protection from flu and its complications.  Talk to your healthcare provider and consider getting a flu shot today.

(Information for this article came from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.)

October 30, 2013

Make it a Happy and Safe Halloween

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

Children are bubbling with excitement as Halloween is right around the corner. They've picked out their costumes and plans are being sketched out for the family jack-o'-lantern. But before the kids set out on Halloween for buckets of treats, Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance wants to remind you of some tips for a safe Halloween. 

When it comes to costumes, wear one that is brightly colored. You and your kids want to be seen as you walk through the neighborhood at dusk or later. Reflective tape on the costumes is a great addition. Costumes should not be restrictive or hinder the vision of a child. If the costume includes a toy weapon, wand or broom, make them out of paper or cardboard. They are much safer than those that are made from plastic, metal and wood. Wear comfortable footwear. Shoes that are don't fit well could cause a child to fall. And always make sure costumes and wigs are made of a fireproof material.

What child doesn't want to "dig in" to their stash of candy as soon as they get back to their house? Don't let that happen. Adults should check all treats before they are consumed. A good hint is to have your kids eat a full meal before they begin their trick-or-treating trek through the neighborhood. This will help in them not being tempted to eat their treats before you've properly checked them. As for homemade treats (baked goods, Rice Krispie Treats),  and fruits and nuts -- they should not be eaten unless the parents know the person they came from.

A lot of this is common sense and we parents remember our folks telling us these things years ago. But it's always good to get a refresher.  For safe trick-or-treating visit only  the homes in the neighborhood that are well-lit and make sure to plan your child's route. Travel in a group or with adults and never enter a home. Another good tip for visibility is to trick-or-treat with a flashlight or glow stick. When crossing streets, cross at corners and never from between two vehicles.

Keeping your home safe is also important during Halloween.  It's best to not light candles around walkways. Think of using a battery-operated light source or glow stick in jack-o-lanterns or luminaries. If you've got good candy and some creepy decorations on the front door and porch, you may get high traffic -- so make sure to keep your walkways well lit and unobstructed. Lastly, don't let anyone you don’t know into your home.
Children are our treasures so make it a fun, and most of all, a safe (and spooky) night. Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance wishes everyone a happy and safe Halloween!

(Information for this article came from the Scottsdale and Phoenix Police Departments.)

Caring for Patients and the Community

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

While Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance is all about providing the kind of care that exceeds our patients' and industry expectations, there is also a deep care for our community and an employee commitment to it. This is why Angel MedFlight tries to support so many outstanding charitable organizations during critical fundraising campaigns. 

Most recently our employees volunteered at the Hope Worldwide Phoenix Carnival for Homeless Children. There, members of our team manned a first aid booth and handed out treats to children and families who are less fortunate. Others from Angel MedFlight gave kids manicures and haircuts while others grilled hamburgers and hotdogs.  

Just a few months ago, Arizona suffered one of its saddest days when 19 Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters were killed while battling the Yarnell wildfire that displaced hundreds of residents. Like most, we were grief-stricken by this tragedy and wanted to help in any way we could. We chose to partner up with Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale for a pancake breakfast and all-day fundraising event with all proceeds going to the 100 Club of Arizona Survivors Fund. It was heartwarming to see so many area residents and motorcycle riders stop by the Angel MedFlight booth and buy 10, 20, 50 dollars worth of raffle tickets in order to help the families of the brave 19 souls who lost their lives trying to save others.

The grand prize from the Angel MedFlight raffle was an all-expense paid trip for two to Hawaii, but when the winner was announced, he chose to donate the value of the trip to the 100 Club. When it was all said and done, Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale and Angel MedFlight had raised over $100,000 for the 100 Club Survivors Fund.

It's a good thing Angel MedFlight has so many great fitness-minded people on the staff as they enjoy walking for great causes. Take for example the Relay for Life in Anthem, Ariz., when members of our team took part in an overnight fundraising walk, all to benefit the American Cancer Society. Angel MedFlight has a special bond with cancer patients as we often transport them to facilities to undergo treatment and specialized care. That day in April, we walked alongside with patients currently undergoing treatment along with survivors of the devastating disease.

The offices of Angel MedFlight can be a colorful place as we help to raise awareness for a number of causes. In September we wore shades of gold as part of the American Childhood Cancer Organization's "Go Gold" campaign during National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. A few weeks later, as leaves changed color to signal the arrival of Fall, we changed into pink shirts to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Our talented graphics and marketing departments came up with a special pink ribbon logo on a pink t-shirt and employees of the air ambulance company purchased the shirts with part of the proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen Fund. During the organization's Race for the Cure in Phoenix, our director of community relations wore the shirt while participating in the  5k race and the one-mile walk.

Employees are encouraged to give their time for causes like those mentioned above. We are constantly reminded through participation how gratifying it can be to simply give our time…to give a part of our heart.

October 14, 2013

Angel MedFlight Catches Up with 2012 Scholarship Winner

By Angel MedFlight Contributor
As Angel MedFlight continues to take applications for its Scholarship for Excellence in Aviation, we thought this would be a perfect time to catch up with 2012 scholarship winner Caroline Gleb, a senior at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz.
Heard about the scholarship through a friend at school. A friend of a relative was in the air ambulance industry and he sent her the link to our website.  Gleb has long considered a career in air ambulance and while she browsed the site she came across the scholarship link.
Something that makes the Angel MedFlight scholarship unique is applicants must submit a video biography, along with other required materials. Gleb says the video interview was new and different and she liked it a lot better than other scholarship entry forms which call for an essay. Gleb makes it no secret that she doesn't like writing much. She says it was a lot easier to come up with a short script and to be herself in front of the camera giving answers to various questions. "It was something different and something cool, something where I could actually express myself and Angel MedFlight could see my personality." 
She's been interested in flying and a career in aviation since middle school. A lot of the credit goes to her father, who to this day, takes Caroline and her younger sister to air shows every year. She says one year in middle school it just clicked and that being a pilot seemed like a "really cool career." But it wasn't until high school when she started to pursue her dream and think of  what college she would attend.
Gleb grew up on Vashon Island on Puget Sound in Washington. Pilot training programs were in short supply on the small island so when it came time to apply to college, Gleb enrolled at Embry-Riddle where she is just a few credit hours away from earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Science.  She chose Embry-Riddle because she could work on her four-year degree while also getting her flight training.
Upon graduation Gleb wants to work as a flight instructor at Embry-Riddle.  "I'm very familiar with their training program and I think it's an awesome school. I've loved my experience here," says Gleb. She says while working as a flight instructor, she'd gain a lot of knowledge and experience, which she knows will come in handy when she becomes a full-fledged pilot.  Gleb says ultimately she wants to become a commercial pilot or work for an air ambulance company. "Working for an air ambulance company would be my number-one goal. I love flying," says Gleb.
Finding out she had won the 2012 Scholarship for Excellence in Aviation was a big thrill for Gleb. "I wasn't really expecting it. It was so exciting to have someone appreciate all the  hard work that I have put in throughout my four years here. It was such an awesome feeling to see that you guys had picked me over other applicants. I am so grateful for everything that Angel MedFlight has given me."
Gleb's scholarship was well-earned. At the time of her application Gleb was not only taking on her course load at Embry-Riddle, she was also working as a dispatcher and volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters and serving as vice president of Alpha Sigma Tau sorority. Through all this, Gleb maintained a 4.0 grade point average.
Her advice to this year's scholarship applicants?  She says "make a video that shows who you are and shows what your career goals are. Be who you are on the video and people will appreciate that."
Gleb calls Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance "an awesome company." We think Gleb, our 2012 scholarship winner, is pretty awesome too.

September 30, 2013

Plane Speak at Angel MedFlight

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

At Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance and Aviation West Charters there is no shortage of experts to call on. We are proud to have the best in the fields of medicine, aviation, insurance law and case management. Often it's just fun to pick their brains and hear the knowledge come pouring out in the forms of stories. Aviation West Charters Director of Flight Operations Brandon Kearns stopped by the business development offices recently and the conversation turned to favorite commercial aircraft.

I happened to be telling Kearns about my first airplane ride as a little tyke going from San Francisco to Orange County, Calif., on an Air California 737. Immediately, Kearns' eyes lit up as he talked glowingly about the Boeing 737, calling it the most reliable commercial aircraft ever made. "They're everywhere,” Kearns said. "You can't go anywhere in the world without seeing a 737. They're like taxi cabs."

Kearns says the 737's dispatch reliability is hard to top. "It's always been an economical, reliable airplane. The airlines love it. I have friends who have flown it and they talk about how forgiving it is. It's easy to fly, it's like flying a truck. You point it, it goes."

Our conversation turned to the history of commercial jet travel and Kearns talked of the late 1950s and 1960s as commercial aviation's "romantic era." He pointed to the late 50s when the jet engine revolutionized airplane travel and how it opened up different markets because of longer-range aircraft traveling at higher speeds. 

"I had the luxury of talking to guys that taught me how to fly that were P-51 and P-38 pilots from World War II," says Kearns. "They came back and flew the DC-3, then flew the Constellation and the DC-6. And then 1957-58 rolls around and they're flying 707's."

Commercial flight was much different decades ago than it is today. Kearns recalls a conversation he had with one of his former instructors, Jack O'Neill. "Things are so structured and regimented now in terms of how we fly and there are so many airplanes out there. Jack was one of the first 747 captains for American Airlines. He was a P-38 Lightning pilot in the European theater of World War II. Nothing fazed the guy." Kearns goes on, remembering what O'Neill told him. Imitating his former instructor's voice, Kearns says O'Neill would tell him, "Ya know…Literally, I'd flight plan with the navigator so that -- we'd fly over my house!"

Kearns tilts his head back and recalls the FAA examiner who did several of his check rides back in the day. "Capt. Willard Van Wormer. He started at around 19-years-old as a flight engineer on the old Lockheed Constellation back in the late 1950s."  Automation has largely phased out the role of the flight engineer, but Kearns describes how years ago, the flight engineer would sit behind the pilot and co-pilot with a huge panel of switches and gauges.

"Before automation," Kearns says, "you had to have a guy who moved fuel, moved hydraulics, moved switches. Now everything's based on a computer. You say to a computer 'I want this,' the computer goes, 'change this, do this, do this.'  That's what the flight engineer used to do. He used to move all the switches, he used to control the systems." Kearns says the flight engineer was like a big machine operator. The captain pointed the airplane, flew it with the co-pilot, but the flight engineer was the one who handled all the aircraft systems. Looking at a photo of an old 747-200's flight engineer panel shows the enormity of responsibilities this crew member had on the flight deck.

But as the years have passed, it no longer takes two dozen switches, knobs and gauges to handle fuel, auxiliary power, pressurization, air conditioning and the complex electrical systems of an airliner.

At Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance, nothing's more enjoyable than being able to sit down with many of our experts and listen to their knowledge flow. Whether it's a flight paramedic, a logistics manager, creative developer, flight coordinator -- or in this case the flight operations director, while working at Angel MedFlight, you can truly learn something new every day. 

September 24, 2013

Adding Green Makes for Healthier Workplace

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

There's more green on display at Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance. Green in the way of ficus, palms, and bamboos. Always looking for the healthiest workplace,  the leaders in the medical flight industry have added a few more plants to the offices and hallways here at Angel MedFlight. Having plants around the workplace can have several benefits. 

First the obvious, plants can lead to  less stress in a work environment. When multitasking is getting to be too much and the nerves feel a bit frayed, a glance over at a plant can be a calming influence. There's research to back this up. A study by  Dr. Virginia Lohr at Washington State University showed that participants working in an environment with plants present were 12 percent more productive and less stressed than those who worked in an environment without them. Research done by Dr. Roger S. Ulrich of Texas A&M and Helen Russell at Surrey University in England also revealed similar results.

Plants can also improve the air quality in an office as they reduce levels of airborne bacteria and help with mold and dust allergies. Plants can help prevent what's called "Sick Building Syndrome," which is the result of  toxins in the air becoming concentrated inside sealed office buildings. Studies have shown that plants can suck those chemicals out of the air.

Kathy Luksich is a transcriptionist at Angel MedFlight and she has a keen interest in plants. She loves them so much she's studying Urban Horticulture at a local community college. Her  dream is to someday get her bachelor's degree. With two plants on her desk, Luksich says office plants  are "definitely good for the air in generating oxygen and they also give me a calm feeling."

What plants are good to have around the office? Luksich recommends a ficus plant like the ficus benjamina, which is commonly called the weeping fig. While the benjamina ficus does best in bright sun, it can grow in poor growing conditions and tolerates considerable shade. For a little extra color, Luksich likes the Peace Lily, a plant that NASA put on its list of "Top Ten Household Air Cleaning Plants."

If she's not careful, Luksich will get a reputation of  being the plant doctor around our office here in Scottsdale, Arizona. A bamboo palm was not doing so well in a hallway corner so Luksich volunteered to take it home to see if she could revive it. "I've re-potted it, cut off the dead foliage and it looks like it might come back pretty nice."  Luksich says bamboo palms can do well in an office because they can tolerate lower light and they do well indoors. Because we are in Arizona, there's an impulse to get cactus plants for the office, but Luksich says they're not the best choice because they need a lot of sunlight.

Plants are good natural sound barriers in office as they absorb sound.  Studies have shown that a small indoor hedge placed around a workplace can reduce noise levels by about 5 decibels. Less noise and less stress can only lead to a happier workplace and increased productivity.

Looking to reduce stress levels, workplace noise and improve the air quality? Take a tip from Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance and spruce up the office with a dose of green. 

September 18, 2013

A Company Project Gets a Personal Touch

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

Coming together as a team is something we do well at Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance. When something needs a little extra effort to be done quickly and efficiently, we get our team of employees together and take care of the task. That happened this weekend on a large mailing project.

A leader in worldwide air medical transports, Angel MedFlight has an important relationship with hospital case managers that we diligently maintain. One of the ways we stay connected with these case managers is through our mailings. This mailing was to touch base with case managers and directors of case management after meeting with them at national conferences  this summer. Cooper Bolton, Angel MedFlight's graphics designer, had a large role in "the mailer" as we call it and says  about 1800 mailing kits needed to be sent out.

That meant diligently assembling 1800 folders, filling them with Angel MedFlight literature, and then placing the assembled folders into addressed envelopes. It was important for us to send out folders that had literature placed neatly into the envelopes and to have those envelopes addressed by hand. Bolton says handwriting the address gave the mailer a more personal feel to it.

Last week, an office-wide email was sent out asking for volunteers to help this weekend with the mailer. Bolton says about 20 eager volunteers showed up to help. The crew worked from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday adding the contents to the folder. The folder included a letter from our CEO Jeremy Freer, five brochures, a punch-out Rolodex card, a case manager guide, note pad, business card, mouse pad and a poster.  The Angel MedFlight poster was the newest addition to the packet. This 20" x 28" glossy poster is meant to be hung in hospital case manager break rooms and reminds case managers to "Call Us First." What's especially personal about the poster is the original idea for it was posed to us by a director of case management during a regional conference we exhibited at recently.

Bolton says there was an assembly line set up in one of the larger rooms in the office and each person in the line added a piece of literature to the folder. The completed folder was then placed into an addressed envelope and into a bin. At the end of Saturday most of the mailers were completed. On Sunday, our crack staff finished up a few of the remaining packets and then reviewed the envelopes for quality assurance.

With so many employees coming in on the weekend to help, the mailing kit project was done in about 12 hours. Sure, the job could have been outsourced, but at Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance we strive to exceed expectations. By keeping the project in-house, case managers will notice the extra care that was taken to assemble and mail it. Doing things with extra care and personal touch comes easy to us at Angel MedFlight.

September 16, 2013

Meet Our Team: Videographer Jesse Vanderpool

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

He started his filmmaking career in the woods near his childhood home in Seattle. Inspired by award-winning director Steven Spielberg, Jesse Vanderpool would attend a prestigious film school and would later receive on-screen credits as a cinematographer.  Now, Vanderpool is part of the talented team at Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance as our newest videographer.

Whether it's shooting our fleet of air ambulance jets or patient stories like the ones seen in our "My Real Life Moment™" series, Vanderpool's talents will shine through in the company videos that have become so popular since Angel MedFlight was established in 2007. 
Videographer Jesse Vanderpool

His start behind the camera came as an adventurous 13-year-old. His father had shown him the Spielberg classic, "Saving Private Ryan" and soon after, Vanderpool was out on the family's wooded property making his own war movies. "We'd get some camouflage, BB guns and a camcorder and we'd just take turns being in the movie and then filming," says Vanderpool.

Then his father gave him some life-changing advice . "He said to me, 'Hey, you can make movies for a living.' That was astonishing to me because I had just figured that people just do this for fun," says Vanderpool.

Over the next few years, Vanderpol would make movies about skateboarding, snowboarding, boxing movies, car chases, "anything that we could think of."

Acting on his dad's advice of getting paid to make movies, Vanderpool went to film school in Ventura, Calif., attending the Brooks Institute where he earned his bachelor's degree. He then did several apprenticeships for the American Film Institute and the University of Southern California. Vanderpool also worked a number of years at the New York Film Academy as a teacher's assistant. The academy's classroom just happened to be on the back lot of Universal Studios.

Vanderpool then ventured out into a freelance career where he did several documentaries and corporate videos for companies like Boeing and United Technologies. After working as a director of photography at a production company, Vanderpool   landed at Angel MedFlight in Scottsdale.
Vanderpool enjoys working on documentaries and with families because, "You don't really know what the story is going to be until you're there filming it. And you are not directing the story -- the story is directing you."

Vanderpool likes the challenge at Angel MedFlight of traveling on a moment's notice to film a patient story. It's fewer cameras and often a one-man production, but Vanderpool lives by the motto: Restriction breeds creativity. He says when you are limited and there isn't a lot of time to plan, you have to rely more on your spontaneous creativity.

Vanderpool became interested in Angel MedFlight after viewing some of the company's videos. "They were really similar to my style and I could really appreciate them. I thought I would make a great fit," says Vanderpool.  "I think it's an amazing company that helps people and I feel my time is very valuable here."

A lover of airplanes and his craft, Vanderpool fits right into the staff at Angel MedFlight. He has an 18-month-old daughter and another son on the way.

Vanderpool hasn't forgotten the days of rolling around in the dirt as a youngster making war movies. He likes to play paintball in his spare time.

September 13, 2013

'Historic Leap' for Voyager 1

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

Occasionally here at Angel MedFlight we like to recognize  achievements in flight and scientific exploration. Although we are an air ambulance provider – we have raised the bar in patient care – and continually strive to exceed our patients' expectations. In terms of space exploration, NASA's Voyager 1 has exceeded expectations as the space agency announced Thursday the probe has become the first spacecraft to reach interstellar space.
Artist's depiction of Voyager spacecraft (NASA)

The space probe and its twin Voyager 2 were launched a few months apart in the summer of 1977 from Cape Canaveral, Fla. Their original mission was to conduct close-up studies of Jupiter and Saturn, Saturn's rings along with the larger moons of the two planets. With that mission completed and all instruments on both probes operational, NASA provided additional funding for them to press onward. The interstellar mission began in 1990.

According to NASA, the 36-year-old Voyager 1  probe is about 12 billion miles from our sun and has been traveling for about a year through plasma present in the space between stars. Yes, the probe left our solar system more than a year ago but scientists needed to be sure by studying the evidence.
Ed Stone, a Voyager project scientist at the California Institute of Technology says, "Now that we have new, key data, we believe this is mankind's historic leap into interstellar space." Stone says the Voyager team needed time to analyze the observations and make sense of them. "But we can now answer the question we've all been asking -- 'Are we there yet?' Yes we are."

Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were launched just over two weeks apart in 1977. Both spacecraft flew by Jupiter and Saturn but Voyager 2 also passed by Uranus and Neptune. Voyager 2 is the longest continuously operated spacecraft and is about 9.5 billion miles from the sun.

Both probes continue to send data back to earth. NASA says mission controllers talk or receive data from them every day but the emitted signals are very faint -- about 23 watts, which is the power of a refrigerator light bulb. By the time those signals get back to earth, NASA says they are a fraction of a billion-billionth of a watt. The signals take about 17 hours to reach mission control.

 According to NASA, Voyager 1 is in a transitional region just outside the solar bubble called the heliosphere, where some effects from the sun are still evident. Scientists aren't sure when Voyager 1 will reach the part of interstellar space where there is no influence from our sun. They also don't know when Voyager 2 will cross into interstellar space like its twin, but they believe it's not very far behind.

The first circumnavigation of the earth, the first man on the moon and now the first spacecraft to leave our solar system. Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance applauds the scientists and engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA for this achievement in space exploration.

As Disney's Buzz Lightyear would say, "To Infinity and beyond!"

September 11, 2013

Hours After 9/11, Virtually Alone In The Skies

Sharon Mico is pictured top right, seated in front (Photo: Dory Graves)

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

Twelve years ago this week, airliners hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, another jet hit the Pentagon and Flight 93 went down into a field near Shanksville, Pa. On Sept. 12, 2001, a day after the terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000, Angel MedFlight's Sharon Mico was in the air working as a flight attendant -- when virtually all other aircraft had been grounded.

In the summer of 2001, Mico was working as a flight attendant for Sierra Pacific Airlines. Sierra Pacific was a charter carrier  that the Bureau of Land Management had contracted to transport firefighters to and from wildfires. Mico was on call, living for the summer in a hotel in Boise, Idaho.

Mico remembers waking up the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 and turning on CNN. It was minutes after the first plane, American Airlines Flight 11, hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Mico remembers thinking at the time, "How could the pilot not avoid the World Trade Center?" Then, when United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower, Mico thought the same thing as many of us that day. "We're being attacked."

The first thing Mico did was call her mother to tell her that she was okay, that it wasn't one of her company's planes. She went down to the lobby and watched the rest of the horror unfold on television. When she returned to her hotel room hours later, the message light was blinking on her telephone. She called dispatch. The voice on the other end said to get ready; she and the rest of her crew would be picked up at 6 p.m. and taken to Boise Airport. She told the dispatcher everything's been grounded. How can we be flying now? The dispatcher answered. She along with two other flight attendants and three pilots would be flying FEMA workers to Baltimore-Washington for the Pentagon recovery operation and then to Newark to drop off the crews working at Ground Zero.

Quality Assurance Director Sharon Mico
Once Mico arrived at the airport in Boise, it was delay upon delay. The Sierra Pacific jet was stuck on the ground for hours as each member of the crew went through a new tighter round of background checks.

The FEMA crews were picked up in Mather, Calif. Nothing but a few hushed voices were heard on the 737-200 as the somber flight made its way back east. The first stop was Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) and as the plane made its way into BWI's airspace, Mico looked out the window to see two F-16 fighter jets flying alongside the airliner.  She's not sure how the Sierra Pacific pilot knew for sure but he later told Mico that those F-16s had their "missiles locked on us." She says, "Had we deviated off course I may not be sitting here talking to you today."

Once on the ground in Baltimore, Mico remembers it was the weirdest thing she had ever seen. "No movement in this airport. I mean, Baltimore? BWI? Nobody. Nothing. It was eerie."

After letting off 38 FEMA workers at BWI, Mico and her crew took off for Newark. It was a short hop from Baltimore to New Jersey, barely up and down. It was early in the morning on the 12th.  As the sun rose in the eastern sky, the jet flew closer into New York airspace. Seeing this, Mico walked up to the cockpit door, opened it and asked one of the pilots if he would take a photograph as they flew near Ground Zero. Mico says the photo shows twin plumes of smoke coming up from what once was The World Trade Center.

The FEMA crews heading to Ground Zero had now deplaned in Newark. Mico had now been up almost 24 hours, running mostly on adrenaline now. The Sierra Pacific jet was mostly empty, flying back to Boise with just the crew. Upon arrival in Boise, Mico says she gathered with her fellow crewmembers at the hotel and decompressed. For more than a day she had to hold it together, keeping emotions at bay as she transported 76 FEMA workers to two of the saddest scenes in American history. Finally back in her hotel room, she looked at some newspapers that recounted the horrible events of the day before. As she turned the pages and looked at the photos, she could no longer hold back the tears.

Twelve years later, Mico recall details of her trip like it was yesterday. Mico, now The Quality Assurance Manager at Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance, has some photos from that day but unfortunately she cannot locate the one that was taken of  Ground Zero from the air. Perhaps a photo is not needed. The memories are powerful enough.

September 4, 2013

Pilots Train as Angel MedFlight Awaits Citation X's Arrival

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

Angel MedFlight's Citation X (shown before modifications and new livery)
Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance is highly anticipating the arrival of our newest acquisition -- the Cessna Citation X. As we wait for the fastest civilian aircraft in its class to return from upgrades, modifications and a new paint job, a number of Angel MedFlight pilots are undergoing training to fly this awesome jet.

Kindle Tannery is Chief Pilot for Angel MedFlight's Part 135 air carrier certificate holder Aviation West Charters and explains that aircraft that weigh over 12,500 pounds require a type rating. "The systems are going to be so complex, you need training on various systems of that aircraft," says Tannery.

Citation X cockpit (photo by Richard Masoner)
Take for example a King Air 200. It's less than 12,500 pounds but a King Air 350 is over 12,500 and needs a type rating. "Basically, any aircraft that weighs less than 12,500 pounds, I don't have to go get special training -- I can hop in and go fly," says Tannery.

”The FAA requires pilots to get special training and get checked out and it's noted on your license and your pilot certificate that you are qualified to fly this aircraft." Tannery has on his pilot's license Learjet 35, Learjet 60 and soon, Citation X.

The schooling can take anywhere from three to six weeks to complete. Tannery says, "It's very intense. You really have to shut off the world. A lot of things in your personal life, you have to filter those things out and really focus on this training."

Tannery's training near Dallas, Texas lasted 21 days. There were several eight-hour days of classroom study followed by training in the simulator. After each day in the classroom, Tannery says he would go home and spend another four to six hours reviewing what he had learned that day and preparing for the next day ahead. "It's a lot of book study, reading and understanding the systems," says Tannery.

There are two types of training. One starts with the ground work and systems knowledge and after that, the flight training. "First they bring you in and teach you the systems, the basics and then they add to that knowledge things like system malfunctions. And you go through various degrees as you prepare to jump into the simulator." says Tannery. "You just don't go to flight school and jump in the 'sim,' you have to understand what you're getting yourself into." Tannery says he spent 10 days in the classroom before even touching the simulator.

Simulator training is when a pilot in training applies what he's learned in the classroom. Tannery says everything you can imagine, they can throw at you in the simulator. "They are so realistic that you feel like you've done it already. When you are in a simulator you don't think you're in a simulator." Tannery says the visual effects are very accurate as far as landing, airport environments, taxiing when you're on the ground. It is the best video game that you'll ever see."

Angel MedFlight looks to have the Citation X in air ambulance service in the fall. Because of this aircraft's speed and increased range, more people around the world will be able to experience Angel MedFlight's unparalleled patient care.

August 29, 2013

How's the Weather Up There?

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

For those of us here on the ground, checking the weather can be as simple as looking out the window, turning on the TV or checking our favorite weather app on a mobile device. Imagine though, how a pilot must prepare for weather conditions before he takes an aircraft 45,000 feet up in the sky. Pilots at Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance are trained to handle every weather condition ensuring a safe and comfortable ride for the patient.

But what exactly goes into checking the weather before taking one of our Learjet air ambulances up? Kindle Tannery is Chief Pilot for the combined operations of Angel MedFlight and Aviation West Charters. Tannery says there are many variables a pilot looks at on a flight plan and weather decides a lot of those variables.

Once the pilot has checked the airport environment, for example runway conditions, Notices To Airmen (NOTAMS), he or she can then check weather conditions. In the summertime pilots are looking at thunderstorm threats, convective activity around the en route weather.  Tannery says, "You're checking for turbulence, cells that you want to avoid, and you'll find that all in your pre-flight planning."

Two of the most common sources pilots use to check weather are the iPad app ForeFlight and Tannery says ForeFlight gives pilots information on airports, NOTAMS, temporary flight restrictions (TFRs)  and weather.

Pilots will also look at METARs and TAFs from the National Weather Service. METAR contains hourly surface weather observations. Typically this includes the temperature, dew point, wind speed and direction plus precipitation, barometric pressure, cloud cover and heights and visibility. In case you're wondering what the acronym METAR means, it roughly translates from French as Aviation Routine Weather Report. TAF is the international standard code for terminal forecasts issued for airports.

Flight Operations Director Brandon Kearns says there are a number of factors which must be taken into account for each flight. "Rain, turbulence, headwind, thunderstorms, and even ice are just some of the phenomena which present challenges to flight crews for finding the ideal route. "
You've seen the satellite imagery and Doppler radar images on television? Pilots look at similar radar imagery and pay special attention to the colors on the maps. Kearns says the "colors are a huge thing. 

They tell you the levels of intensity on the type of precipitation. For a thunderstorm you're dealing with the greens, to the yellow, to the red and the magenta." Greens, pinks, blues and whites are often seen on maps in the winter. The colors on the map "give the pilot a really quick onceover as to what type of precipitation, where it is and the level of its intensity."

Kearns says the pilots also look at isobaric pressure lines and lifted index charts to see what the weather looks like along the route. These show the potential for severe weather such as thunderstorms and tornadic activity. "The lifted index charts measure the stability of the air and show how much moisture is in the air and what the potential is for the actual current atmospheric conditions to create a thunderstorm, " says Kearns. "And we can see even at 8 in the morning that around 2 or 3 in the afternoon it is going to be a nasty day."

During the flight pilots can often see weather systems hundreds of miles away. There is weather radar on board the aircraft which sends a signal out that bounces off the water particles  ahead and returns with a color-coded echo reading, measuring timing and intensity.

Angel MedFlight air ambulance jets have the ability to often fly above the weather. "And our pilots," says Kearns, "are operating around the clock in different parts of the world. They are very schooled on different weather patterns." This helps to ensure a high level of safety and also a comfortable ride for the patients and their family members.

August 27, 2013

Director of Canine Ops Revamping Twitter Feed

By Angel MedFlight Contributor
Angel MedFlight recently sat down (on the floor) with the company's Director of Canine Operations, Sam the Golden Lab, for a question and answer session about his reemergence in the social media world.
Angel MedFlight: Sam, as Director of Canine Operations for Angel MedFlight, I want to thank you for opening up your busy schedule to give us a few minutes to talk to you about your big social media news.
Sam: Great to appear again in the blogosphere. I like the whole blog idea. Blog...rhymes with dog. But to get back on point, what I'm announcing today through your blog is after a long hiatus I will once again be active on Twitter. 
Angel MedFlight: That's awesome news Sam, tell us more.
Sam: As Director of Canine Operations I have a busy schedule visiting various departments and offering my input on certain topics. I've also been traveling a lot and haven't been able to devote enough time pawing at my mobile device and tweeting. Twitter is a great tool to pass along news about Angel MedFlight and of course me and what I'm up to. Twitter allows me to connect to humans in short bursts. You'd be surprised what this Golden Lab can say in 140 words or less.
Angel MedFlight: You're obviously very talented Sam and we're glad you're going to be tweeting again. Where can readers find you?
Sam: I'm at the same Twitter handle as before. Look for my tweets at @caninesam. I'm really excited, excuse the panting, but visitors to the feed will soon see a much fresher look including a new profile photo and background. Right now my canine corps and I are going over design options but we think you'll really enjoy the fresh new look.
Angel MedFlight: What does the Director of Canine Operations tweet about?
Sam: I'll give updates on what I'm working on around the office. One of the most important tasks for the Director of Canine Operations at Angel MedFlight is to make sure when there's food in the break room, that I get a taste. Birthday cakes are my specialty. I'll also give my dog's life perspective on the weather, current events and every once in a while, a thought-provoking quotation. I also want to say I'm a huge advocate for pet adoption, spaying and neutering so you'll see some tweets about those issues too.

Angel MedFlight: What about photos and videos?
Sam: (pause)
Angel MedFlight: Sam?
Sam: Oh sorry, a cat just ran past the window and I got distracted. You asked if I'll post photos and videos on the Twitter page? My goodness, does a dog scratch? My followers LOVE to see where I've been, how I run the Department of Canine Operations and more. The multimedia presentation of that really helps get the message across.  I don't mean to brag, but I have a few female friends  who can't get enough of my photos.
Angel MedFlight: Sam, I want to thank you again for the opportunity to hear more about your Twitter page, @caninesam.

Sam: Sure thing buddy. Hey, sorry but I gotta run. Someone just threw a tennis ball. 

August 26, 2013

Much Going On at Travel Assurance Promise

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

As a letter-winning fullback at Northern Illinois University, Chris Montgomery would pave the way for the ball-carrier behind him. Now as the CEO of Travel Assurance Promise, he and his staff are opening up new pathways for travelers, offering a premium membership plan that offers its members medical transportation to their hospital of choice or the medical facility in their home state that can best take care of them. The TAP team continues to expand and the game plan for growth is strong.

Montgomery outlined what separates Travel Assurance Promise from other travel membership programs. "What other companies do that we don't do is they'll bid out the process, they'll go through an affiliate. So if you go to another company, say one through a major credit card, and you need an air ambulance flight, they'll send a fax or an email and take the lowest bidder they can find to get you to an adequate hospital,"  says Montgomery.  "That doesn't allow the patient to know who's flying them, where the crew came from and what quality of care they'll get." 

When a member uses Travel Assurance Promise for a medical evacuation, the company calls upon its preferred air ambulance provider, Angel MedFlight, which provides continuity of care. "You know from beginning to end, the Bedside-to-Bedside® logistics will all be handled by one company," says Montgomery.

Montgomery says another feature of  a Travel Assurance Promise membership that's compelling is you're taken back home. "You've heard the saying before, 'There's no place like home?' If you're in a hospital for an extended period of time, you'd much rather be closest to loved ones. And it saves you time and money. Because if you're in a foreign hospital or a hospital five states away, how much time does your family spend trying to reach out to you? How about your job trying to reach out to you? Or consider that you're out of network, your insurance doesn't cover you as much as it would when you're back at home."

Montgomery became TAP's CEO in April and says right away he met with experts in the insurance and travel industries to gain a better feel for what the traveler wants. "I think I did 12 lunches in 10 days, "says Montgomery.  What he found was that travelers do not want to deal with deductibles and tons of paperwork when they're sick or injured far from home.

Time is a huge commodity and Montgomery says that with a Travel Assurance Promise membership, their preferred air ambulance provider Angel MedFlight handles all the details of the patient's medical flight. Montgomery says he did a test with a major credit card company and "it took us a couple of calls before we could get to the person who could get us the ambulance service. Imagine being frantic, in a far away hospital, you call your vaunted special card service that you know you're covered with and it takes you two or three hours to get this done."

With a Travel Assurance Promise membership you are  immediately connected with a flight coordinator who manages the whole task for you. Montgomery says, "Imagine one phone call and being able to get this all done. It creates that worry-free feeling that we all want and secondly, it's a secure feeling that it's going to get done."

Montgomery says that his team's research showed the bulk of today's travelers are couples -- but when it came to looking at other medical evacuation coverage plans, he saw a shortage of plans available for couples. "So we added the couples plan in all the different terms we have." A Travel Assurance Promise membership starts at only $100 for an individual and $175 for couples/companions. For families that travel regularly, Montgomery recommends an annual family plan that covers as many as five for $495.

Travelers are covered at a minimum of 200 miles from home, so people driving a couple of states away should consider a Travel Assurance Promise membership. "If I'm traveling, I don't want to be stuck in Mexico. If I live here in Arizona, I don't want to be stuck in Virginia. I don't want to be stuck anywhere, I want to have options," says Montgomery.

The CEO sees unlimited growth for Travel Assurance Promise. "We're building our brand and creating an awareness campaign," says Montgomery. "We'll be sponsoring a Boston Pops event and also the PBS television show 'Travel With Kids.' We'll also be in the USA Today travel magazine."
Montgomery sees Travel Assurance Promise aligning with insurance companies, travel groups and teachers who travel and students studying abroad. He sees future affiliations with sports leagues and teams.

"In terms of growth, the future is very bright," says Montgomery. Bright as that clear path to daylight he used to open up as a Northern Illinois Huskies fullback.

Angel MedFlight is proud to be the preferred air ambulance provider for Travel Assurance Promise.

August 21, 2013

Get in the Game When it Comes to Concussion Awareness

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

With summer winding down, parents all over the U.S. are dropping off their sons and daughters at practice for fall sports like football, soccer, volleyball, field hockey and cheerleading. But while we love to see our kids exercise and excel in team sports, we as parents, school administrators and coaches need to be aware of the dangers of concussions and ways at preventing them. August is Neurosurgery Outreach Month and Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance wants you to know more about the dangers of head injuries, specifically concussions.

First some numbers. According to the University of Pittsburgh's Brain Trauma Research Center, more than 300,000 sports-related concussions occur each year in the U.S. The center also says the likelihood of suffering a concussion while playing a contact sport is estimated to be as high as 19 percent per year of play. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) says sports and recreational activities contribute to about 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among American children and teens. In high school sports alone, the AANS says more than 62,000 concussions are sustained each year in high school contact sports.

Dr. Mitchel S. Berger is president of the AANS and says, "Regardless of your age, sport or competitive level, concussion and head trauma injuries are something that can occur to anyone." 
Concussions are injuries to the brain usually caused by a blow to the head and they can result in loss of normal brain function. Those who have suffered a concussion will often not be able to remember what happened immediately before or after the injury. The AANS points out that a concussion can affect memory, judgment, vision, reflexes, speech, balance and muscle coordination. The association says "there is no such thing as a 'minor concussion.'" Other concussion symptoms include prolonged headache, ringing of the ears, sensitivity to light and loss of smell or taste. If someone you know experiences any of these symptoms after a blow to the head, they should consult a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

Do you have a football player in the family? Dr. Berger serves as a member of the NFL's Head, Neck and Spine Medical Committee and says, "While football is a collision sport with inevitable risks, most serious neurological injuries can be prevented if players, parents and coaches take injury prevention and concussions seriously."

Football gets much of the publicity when it comes to head injuries but the AANS says while neurological injuries associated with other sports such as women's soccer, volleyball and cheerleading are less prevalent, they can be just as devastating. According to the American Journal of Sports Medicine, women's soccer is second to football in the greatest number of concussions reported by school-age athletes.

One of the best steps toward prevention is awareness. AANS spokesman Kevin Lillehei says, "Educating the public is one of the best weapons we have when it comes to combating these types of injuries." The AANS also stresses using the right helmets and protective headgear. It should be approved by the American Society of Testing Materials International (ASTM) for specific sports 100 percent of the time. Approved helmets will carry the ASTM sticker. Wear helmets and headgear that fit properly so they can provide maximum protection.

The AANS says helmets or headgear should be worn at all times for baseball and softball, cycling, football, hockey, horseback riding, inline skating, powered recreational vehicles, skateboards and scooters, skiing and snowboarding and wrestling.

Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance wishes all of those playing competitive sports this fall a successful season but reminds athletes, parents, coaches and administrators to learn the symptoms of head injuries and concussions and ways to prevent them.