Often airline crew are frantically trying to sort out things when a passenger is injured or reports sick on board a flight mid-air. On some occasions this also leads to passenger deaths in transit.
The aviation regulator has now issued fresh guidelines to end such chaos after it found that cases of medical emergencies have been steadily increasing.
A Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) circular issued on Thursday, laid down a comprehensive list of medical equipment and drugs that every flight should carry that go beyond the basic first-aid kit. The circular will come into effect from December 1, so that airlines get some time to train its crew.
The crucial part of the circular is that it directs airlines to bifurcate medical equipments in three separate sets – a first-aid kit, a medical kit and a universal precaution kit.
The distinction has been made so that the cabin crew can act according to the nature of situation.
For instance, in case a passenger hits his head against the aircraft roof, at a time when the aircraft is passing through turbulent weather the crew would not waste time looking for bandages and dressing material. They would simply get the first-aid kit, which is meant for injuries on board.
“Airlines carry just one box carrying all the medical aid. The revised rule should better the reaction time to medical emergencies,” said a senior DGCA official requesting anonymity, because he is not authorised to talk to the media. The second box, called the medical kit, will consist of life-saving drugs and the universal precaution kit would be used to store medical gear to stop communicable diseases such as swine flu.
The regulator has also directed airlines to designate a member of the ground staff to monitor that the medicines are loaded on the aircraft before take-off. DGCA safety officers will also conducts safety checks to ensure that the new procedure is being followed.