CORSICANA — Over the past 24 months the PHI Air Medical Group has taken a new approach to promote safety technology and human performance factors used in emergent patient transports. 

“Adding to the many safety accomplishments of PHI, the air medical operations out of Corsicana furthers the commitment by adding night vision goggles to their medical ship based at Corsicana Municipal Airport-David Campbell Field,” a spokesman said.

The addition of night vision goggle technology will enhance capabilities and safety during night-time transports. 

PHI Air Med 6 is one of 11 helicopters in the PHI Texas fleet, and one of more than 80 nationally, that operates with state of the art night vision goggle technology.

“PHI Air Medical is the only emergency helicopter operator in North Central Texas that currently uses NVGs; and the PHI Air Medical Group is the only EMS helicopter operator in the country to be 100 percent outfitted with helmet mounted, top quality goggles,” the spokesman said.

“The NVG that has been implemented is the ANVIS 9 Pinnacle series … the most advanced and most sought after goggle available in the world today,” the spokesman said. “This series is available only to the U.S. military, to law enforcement and to EMS.” 

PHI Air Med 6 was outfitted and operational with NVG’s on Oct. 18, 2008.

The ANVIS 9 Pinnacle is a passive light amplification /intensification system that intensifies light 6,000 times. 

Usual night vision unaided is 20/200 or less; with the ANVIS 9, night vision is 20/20 and the lenses can be focused to infinity.

A typical question about the goggles is, “Can you really see in pitch dark with those things?” 

“And the answer is ‘Yes,’” the spokesman said. “With the proper equipment you can see a person or object over 200 yards away on a very dark, moonless, cloudy night.”

PHI Air Medical began implementation of night vision technology with two aircraft, one being the La Porte, Texas, ship, in May 2005; beginning with bases that frequently fly over dark, desolate, mountainous or sparsely lit environments. 

The company continued to add NVGs as they became available to bases across the state and the country; again outfitting bases in sparsely lit environment service areas first. 

PHI’s outfitting and implementation process saw some delays with the U.S. military operations overseas appropriately getting first priority on available ANVIS 9 Pinnacle goggles.  The final ship in the PHI Texas and national fleet was outfitted and operational with NVGs in March 2009, in Killeen.

“PHI undertook a major initiative in 2006 to implement night vision goggle technology on 100 percent of its owned aircraft by the first quarter of 2008, and we reached that goal in the first quarter of 2009.  We developed an enhanced operational control dispatching system for our pilots, well ahead of others in the industry, a system that later became one of the FAA’s recommended EOC systems” said Duane Sherrill, program director of PHI Air Medical Group Texas Operations.

“With the addition of the technologies to our aircraft, and the flight simulator training we require of all our pilots, we are not only making our operations even safer for our employees, we are also making our transports safer for the patients and families we care for,” he said.

“We must always do all we can to improve the safety of those we transport.” said Howard Ragsdale, director of PHI Air Medical National Operations. “We are committed to doing everything we can as an organization to assure that we are as safe as possible for our employees or our patients.”

PHI Air Medical Inc. is a business unit of PHI Inc., a leader in rotary flight for 60 years and provides support for many of the nation’s leading health care organizations.  PHI Air Medical Group has received the first Vision Zero Safety Award presented by the Association of Air Medical Services for its efforts in improving the safety of the air medical industry.