If you fall sick the next time when you are in a domestic flight, you wouldn’t have to wait for the aircraft to land before getting good medical care.
All domestic and international flights in India are expected to have first aid kits to deal with injuries on board and medical kits containing life saving drugs. A new circular issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has now expanded the minimum inventory of medicines and instruments and number of kits in aircraft registered in India.
The new guidelines will be effective from March 1 and apart from more type of medicines and instruments like defibrillators, aircraft are now supposed to carry a ‘universal precaution kit’. This kit, a new addition to the medical supplies required on board, will help cabin crew managing incidents involving communicable diseases.
The universal protection kit will contain items like germicidal disinfectants, skin wipes, absorbent towels, masks, gloves, bio-hazard disposal waste bags and a dry powder that can convert up to one litre liquid into a sterile granulated gel.
The kit has been necessitated due to outbreaks of serious communicable diseases like SARS and swine-flu, which had hit the aviation industry in the recent years. Even smaller aircraft have to now carry at least one such kit and aircraft carrying more than 250 passengers have to carry two, with the number increasing during an outbreak.
“All aircraft are equipped with first-aid and medical kits to deal with medical exigencies on board but the number of items and kits have been increased,” said the senior official of a full cost carrier who didn’t wish to be named.
Airlines have also been advised to carry Automated External Defibrillators in flights with more than two hours duration.
Defibrillators provide therapeutical doses of electric shocks to a patient suffering a cardiac arrest. “At present only international flights carry defibrillators, not domestic flights,” the airline official said.
The guideline has also made it mandatory for small aircraft, including single engined helicopters, to carry medical kits.
The maximum number of medical kits has been increased from four to six, depending on the number of passengers.