Since 1985, the state of Connecticut has been served by a hospital-based, advanced life support (ALS) helicopter air medical service. The service is stationed at a 1,000-bed, Level I, trauma center that is responsible for its operation. Connecticut statute requires the hospital to file operations reports with the Office of Emergency Medical Services, which reports to the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Operations include response to requests for transportation of severely ill or injured patients from the scene of an incident, and patient transport from one hospital to a higher level, definitive-care hospital.
This service also was charged to develop a disaster response plan to be integrated into the overall state plan for disaster responses. The helicopter disaster response involves all six New England states and the three hospital-based emergency medical helicopter programs that operate in the New England states.
This approach has allowed for joint planning and multi-agency, simulated drills. The helicopter emergency medical service has responded to 15 simulated emergencies (drills) and seven actual mass casualty incidents from May, 1985 to June, 1989. In Connecticut, the planning process conducted by the Department of Public Health and the Office of State EMS produced a coordinated, multi-jurisdictional, mass-casualty response plan.