Helicopter Emergency Medical Services in Finland

What is HEMS?

HEMS is the internationally known abbreviation of the words Helicopter Emergency Medical Services. The most important objective of the HEMS -activities is to offer high-quality services of EMS -physicians in cooperation with other EMS partners in sudden and life threatening situations. Thanks to the wide reach and short response time of the HEMS -activities, the inhabitants are as equal as possible when it comes ot the availability of Emergency Medical Services.

The helicopter and crew are on-duty 24/7, ready to take-off within 4-5 minutes from alarm. The crew consists of a pilot, a HCM (HEMS Crew Member, usually a firefighter, paramedic or nurse) and a doctor. HEMS -units are dispatched by the Emergence Response Centre (ERC). The ERC evaluates the need of the HEMS -unit based on a risk analysis. The flight time to destination is usually 10-30 minutes and help is available on average less than 15 minutes from the emergency call.

On the contrary to a common assumption, the HEMS -helicopter rarely transports any patients. The primary objective of the helicopter is to transport the doctor to the patient as fast as possible. The patient is usually transported to the hospital by regular ambulance.