Private Medical Insurance Magazine iPMIM, speaks with Mr. Chris Connor from LifeFlight International. Chris Connor is the Vice President and Operations Manager of Life Flight International Inc. Spending many years owning and operating several companies, Chris brought his management expertise to Life Flight International Inc in 2002 as Vice President and Shareholder. His experience in management has excelled the development of Life Flight International Inc. over the past decade. Chris’s driven focus to bring the company up to internationally recognized standards and the completion and accreditation from EURAMI has significantly brought Life Flight International Inc. to stand as a highly recognized reputable company.
Please introduce yourself and your air ambulance company
My name is Chris Connor and I am the Vice President and Operations Manager of Life Flight International Inc. Canada. Life Flight International has been operating since 1992 and is Western Canada’s leading Air Ambulance and Commercial Escort & Stretcher Provider. At Life Flight Air Ambulance we are in the business of providing safe and seamless air ambulance services for the ill and the injured, including medical repatriation, commercial escorts, and medical evacuation. Our objective is to provide an internationally-recognized service that is both innovative and industry-leading. To achieve that objective, we have partnered with some of the finest medical care, aviation, and assistance specialists in the world.
Like our partners, we believe there is room for change in the air ambulance industry and are committed to taking the lead on initiatives that improve safety, reduce financial costs, and further strategic global associations with other air ambulance providers. Accordingly, we are always seeking new ways in which we can achieve that goal and better assist our clients and their families. To date we have successfully transported patients to and from 174 countries worldwide. Getting home to family, friends, and support as quickly as possible is very important and the principle goal of most patients and their families. We help people achieve that goal, not only in a timely manner, but safely and with all of the necessary medical support. That support can range from a medical attendant on a commercial flight to a fully mobile intensive care unit with everything that a hospital can provide.
We have nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, and a variety of physicians in different specialties that we can mobilize to provide whatever medical support the situation requires. Our primary concern is to make sure that the transfer is done safely. To that end, our medical team talk directly to the physicians and nurses to make sure everything is set up for the transfer. Sometimes our medical team is able to offer advice on care management even before our team gets there. Our goal is not just to transfer the patient but to continue a care plan and treatment during the flight and transfer. Many of our team members work in the major referral hospitals in British Columbia, Canada, and bring the most up-to-date medical knowledge and skills with them.
What are the advantages of being an air ambulance owner/operator?
Over the course of our 20 years of air ambulance, we have seen many air ambulance companies come and go, usually the result of the aviation aspect putting too much financial strain on the company. Operating and owning your own aircraft is a costly adventure, ( I know because I went that route for 3 years). Most companies cannot afford to own 12 aircraft, but I can have 12 aircraft under contract for air ambulance operations, and have superior availability over a company that can only afford 1,2 or 3 aircraft. I have full control over all my missions.
What type of clients do you serve?
Life Flight International Inc. has built up a large following of clients over the past 20 years; the majority of our clients come from the Insurance travel industry, Hospitals and Corporate Clients. Life Flight International Inc. specializes in Critical care patients, Bariatric patients, neonatal and paediatric transfers.
How much notice do you need to arrange an air ambulance transfer?
On National trips Life Flight International Inc. can usually depart within 2-4 hours of activation, pending customs clearances. International transfers could be anywhere from 24-36 hours depending on International visa’s, flight permits, over flight permits, Patient condition and Bed availability.
What are the orders of service priority – quality, price or reliability?
Life Flight International Inc. always will put quality of service first, reliability second and price last. Although we are a financially competitive company we will not substitute quality of service to provide a cheaper cost.
How important is the accreditation process for air ambulance companies?
Life Flight International Inc. strives to be a leader in our industry, and a voluntary external audit is the only way to have a larger look at the operations. We have just recently been accredited from EURAMI “with special care” and are proud to be part of an elite group. The Accreditation confirms the highest level of quality in terms of capabilities, medical management and qualifications, management policies and quality management, aircraft configuration, equipment, safety management and communications,.
This accreditation demonstrates an Air Ambulance companies commitment to professional excellence and leading, cutting edge medical transport worldwide.
Can you talk us through your current air ambulance fleet?
Life Flight International has 12 fixed wing aircraft under contract to provide the aviation aspect for our company. The fleet consist of 1 Cheyenne III, 2 King Air 100’s, 1 King Air 200, (all pressurized turbo props), 1 Citation V Jet, 2 Learjet 31A’s, 2 Learjet 36XR’s, 1 Learjet 35A, 1 Hawker 800A, 1 Executive VIP Challenger 604.
What geographical area does your air ambulance fleet cover?
Our Jets are capable of International transfers worldwide, and our turbo props are strictly for local transfers up to 4 hrs, and short wingtip transfers from our jets to take patients into smaller airports.
What medical staff will be assisting the air ambulance transport?
Life Flight International Inc. Utilizes Critical Care Paramedics, Critical Care Nurses, Respiratory Therapists, Emergency Physicians and Infant Transport Teams for applicable transports.
All Transports start under the direction of our Medical Director who reviews the case and picks the appropriate medical crew for that transfer, all of our staff is clinically active and in turn provides the best trained medical staff. Our standard crew is a Respiratory Therapist/ Nurse team.
What medical equipment will be utilized during the transportation?
Life Flight International carries a full critical care kit, cardiac monitoring equipment & defibrillation, Ventilator, blood pressure monitor, oxygen saturation equipment, Incubator if needed. At Life Flight International, we equip our transfer to deal with any emergency that may arise. Our motto is hope for the best equip ourselves for the worst scenario. We do many specialized transports and bring any specific needed for safe transports of any patient.
What other air ambulance services do you offer?
As well as Air Ambulance transfers, we have been pioneering commercial stretcher and escort services worldwide. We do special patient moves, bariatric transfers (1100 lb, 950 lb and 650 lb to name a few), (36 patient move in from 1 province to a spiritual event and back) We specialize in neonatal and high risk obstetrics as well.
You can read more about LifeFlight International Air Ambulance in the International Private Medical Insurance Air Ambulance Services Directory, click here.
International Private Medical Insurance Magazine Speaks with Mr. Chris Connor Vice President and Operations Manager, Life Flight International