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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Improving the preparedness of first responders to aircraft crashes using analyzed injury trends of aircraft crash victims
by Aschberger, Geoffrey, M.S., Purdue University, 2012, 75; 1530093
Abstract (Summary)

In the United States airline industry, there were over 10 million flights that carried over 679 million passengers in 2007 alone. There were 28 crashes and only one fatality. Aviation is the safest mode of transportation in the world. However, in those 28 crashes, there were still a lot of victims that sustained injuries. Aviation crashes are studied extensively to determine the causes of the crashes, but very little research has been done on the immediate emergency response to those crashes. Furthermore, there have been few research studies on injury trends of the victims of those crashes.

The purpose of this thesis was to determine the level of medical supply preparedness of United States public commercial service airports. To accomplish this goal, an anonymous online survey was distributed to aircraft rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) professionals across the country. Another goal of the survey was to determine if it was possible to evaluate an airport's emergency preparedness in terms of available medical supplies. The overall goal of this thesis was to derive a plan from these results to improve the outcome of an aircraft crash victim's survivability.

The results of the survey indicate an absence of a systematic plan for preparing medical supplies for response to aircraft crashes. The average level of preparation of the airports surveyed was for 41-60% of passengers on the largest aircraft that was regularly serviced by the airport. The results of the survey also indicate that when preparing medical supplies, airports did not take injury trends of aircraft crash victims into account, particularly the two types of injuries that get treated at the scene of the crash: bone injures (∼40% of total injuries) and open wound/soft tissue injuries (∼10% of total injuries). Instead, those airports surveyed reported that they were almost equally prepared for these two specific types of injuries. Because bone injuries occurred four times more often than did open wound/soft tissue injuries, this equal preparation indicates a lack of efficient preparedness. Airports need to take injury trends into account when planning the purchase of medical supplies specific to each type of injury.

This study was concluded with a few recommendations: first, a database should be created for gathering information about all victims of aircraft crashes, one that can be accessed by the public, easy to use, and easily updated by emergency teams or hospitals everywhere across the country. Second, ongoing research should be done on the injury trends of aircraft crash victims so as to ensure that the statistics are current. Lastly, additional research should be done on the response to aircraft crashes in order to determine the appropriate medical supplies to purchase so as to help the airport fire station to efficiently use the funds they have available.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wulle, Bernard
Commitee: Aaltonen, Pamela, Dietz, James E., Ropp, Timothy
School: Purdue University
Department: Aviation Technology
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: MAI 51/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Aerospace engineering, Public policy, Transportation planning
Keywords: Aircraft crash statistics, Aviation management, Disaster planning, Emergency response management, Resource management, Triage policy
Publication Number: 1530093
ISBN: 978-1-267-76599-4
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