Life flight could be gaining a whole new meaning in the United Kingdom. Paramedics may soon be strapping on jet packs in order to quickly respond to victims that are difficult to reach by vehicle, helicopter, or boat.
According to a BBC piece, the Great North Air Ambulance Service in northern England has begun testing a jet pack. They are so pleased and impressed with the results, that they plan to field the first jet suits in the summer of 2021.
Andy Mawson, a member of the Great North Air Ambulance Service, said, “What we didn’t know for sure is how this would work in practice. Well, we’ve seen it now and it is, quite honestly, awesome.”
The need for a jet pack-powered paramedic is not a far-fetched need. In higher elevation areas, rescue helicopters or ambulances cannot make it directly to a patient. This often results in paramedics having to hike to the patient, often spending at least 25 minutes doing so. This wastes precious time. With a jet pack being capable of flying 80 mph, that 25-minute walk turns into a 90-second ride to the patient.
Mawson added that, “We think this technology could enable our team to reach some patients much quicker than ever before. In many cases, this would ease the patient’s suffering. In some cases, it would save their lives.”
The jet pack has a flying range of five to 10 minutes. Although this is not a long time frame, it certainly could mean life and death for a patient.
If a capable paramedic is able to get on scene and begin treating a patient 25 minutes quicker than in a standard rescue operation, there is no doubt that lives will be saved. The faster a trauma patient begins receiving life-saving interventions, the better the chance for survival and full recovery is.
Mawson said that the jet pack will not replace rescue aircraft or mountain rescue teams. It’s viewed as a new groundbreaking tool, that will be used in conjunction with current response elements. By using the jet pack, paramedics will be able to get on the scene quickly, stabilize the patient, and prepare them for transport once the rest of the rescue team arrives.
It will be interesting to see whether the superhero jet pack-flying paramedic gains traction in the rest of the world.