The history of Polish Air Rescue dates back to the interwar period. Military aircraft was used at that time to transport injured patients or medical supplies. Then in 1955, Tadeusz Wieckowski, a former pilot who had lost his pilot’s license following a Stalinist purge in 1950, was authorized by the Minister of Health to set up medical air rescue services in post-war Poland. During the Second World War, Tadeusz Wieckowski had been an active member of the Home Army, the Polish resistance movement. By the end of the twentieth century there were at least a dozen groups carrying out different types of medical transports using various types of aircraft.
The year 2000 brought significant changes. In March, the Ministry of Health established the SP ZOZ LPR (Lotniczego Pogotowia Ratunkowego or Polish Medical Air Rescue in English), beginning at first with the introduction of standards, and standardization of the fleet but mainly it focused on emergency medical air rescue operations.
Currently LPR has 21 permanent HEMS bases and one seasonal base during the summer. The crews respond to accidents and sudden illnesses, and carry out inter-hospital transports, all of which accounts for about 8,000-9,000 missions per year. Furthermore, the Airplane Transport Unit is stationed at Warsaw Chopin airport, which provides long-distance patient transports, including international ones.
Bases located in the southern part of the country work closely with the Volunteer Mountain Rescue Service in rope-technique rescues of those injured in difficult-to-access areas.
LPR crews fly with Eurocopter EC135 helicopters and Piaggio P.180 aircraft.
EHAC is the trade association representing European organisations engaged in providing emergency medical services involving helicopters and ambulance aircraft.
EHAC aims at improving the level of medical care for emergency patients and ensuring corresponding standards of quality among its members.
EHAC is the competent partner for national and international regulatory agencies, such as EASA, in all matters relating to air rescue and ambulance flights.
EHAC supports its members in performing their tasks and facilitates the exchange of experience and information by organising adequate platforms, including technical symposia and conferences.
EHAC works to ensure that the highest, most uniform and consistent standards in safety, effectiveness and efficiency are applied to the provision of air rescue services in Europe.
EHAC provides a link between the various areas of activity through appropriate measures to improve safety and service reliability by publishing recommendations and standards which its members strive to meet, by developing training programmes for medical personnel, flight operations and technical staff, and by promoting practical and scientific exchange.
EHAC facilitates the convergence of emergency medical and flight operation requirements in order to optimise them and to achieve synergies.
EHAC is in constant contact with the relevant national and international trade associations, the aviation organisations and the industry to make new information and knowledge available to its members.
EHAC works for the removal of bureaucratic barriers in the areas affecting air rescue.