Mainland China has a vast area with a variety of climates and complicated terrains, as such it is one of the countries that has the most serious natural disasters. The sudden natural disasters and production safety accidents have brought huge losses and dangers to peoples lives and fortunes, which has created a huge demand for emergency rescue services. The transportation system is well developed with highways spread across the whole country. However, large-scale personnel flow leads to large car flow, with frequent traffic accidents and deaths. As the level of urbanization continuously increases, the aging population rises day by day. With the growth of the civil income level and health awareness, the demand for advanced medical resource transfers will also increase. In addition, due to the predictions for accidents that may occur during traveling, participating in cultural activities, and assembly, medical rescue displays a multi-point, multi-issue, widespread normalized increasing demand.
The role that aviation emergency rescue plays in emergency management
In the process of managing and handling a variety of accidents and disasters, aircraft such as helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and drones have the advantages of high mobility, fast movement, large scope of activities, and rare restrictions by terrain. Developed countries around the world usually use these aircraft as emergency rescue tools. Hence, the modern aviation rescue system is composed of helicopters, fixed-wing, and drones as the main force of the whole emergency rescue system.
General Secretary Xi attaches great importance to emergency rescue and has issued a series of important talks and discussions. General Secretary Xi emphasized on the 19th conference about the Chinese emergency management system and ability establishment held by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Party: “Emergency management is the important part of the governance of the country’s system and competence. It is responsible for preventing serious safety risks and instantly responding to a variety of disasters and accidents as well as protecting the safety of peoples’ lives and properties to maintain a stable society. We need to give full play to the specialties and advantages of the national emergency management system, learn from the successful models of international emergency management systems, and proactively promote the modernization of the national emergency management system.” As a significant part of the emergency rescue system, General Secretary Xi highlighted “We need to strengthen the construction of aviation emergency rescue capabilities and optimize the mechanisms of emergency rescue.” General Secretary Xi’s important instructions provide consolidated guidance for us to construct an aviation emergency system.
The advantages and challenges of aviation emergency rescue
Aviation rescue has the advantages of fast speed and high mobility, especially when executing missions such as shortdistance transportation, urban emergency, medical rescue, forestry fire fighting, offshore search and rescue, etc. Establishing a complete aviation rescue system is quite meaningful to national economic development and the public. It is also an important way to improve the public’s sense of happiness and security.
Aviation rescue also confronts some specific challenges, mainly including the following four points:
The current development of aviation emergency rescue in mainland China
Compared to Western developed countries, the aviation emergency rescue industry in mainland China is still in the beginning stage. There are huge differences between mainland China and developed countries in the number of rescue aircraft, rescue response time, rescue service quality evaluation, and service categories. The government pays great attention to aviation rescue development. By setting up supportive policies, establishing managing departments, and regulating industry management, the aviation rescue system has started to take shape.
The aviation rescue force in mainland China can be divided into two categories. One is the centralized management government force and the other is social power used in aviation rescue. For example, the aviation rescue team in the film “The Rescue” (2020) belongs to the ministry of transport as the professional aviation rescue force. On the other hand, general aviation companies with rescue capabilities are part of the social power of aviation rescue.
There still exists some shortages in China’s aviation emergency system that needs to be addressed as follows:
The policies and future development of aviation emergency rescue
In recent years, the aviation rescue business and system in mainland China is developing due to central and local governments’ promotions. The government published a series of policies such as the General Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China “Opinions on Promoting the Emergency Industry Development” (2012), the State Council of the People’s Republic of China “Opinions on Promoting the Development of Civil Aviation” (2014), General Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China “Guidance toward Promoting the Development of General Aviation” (2016), General Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China “The 13th Five-Year Plan on National Accidents Emergency System Construction” (2017), the State Council of the People’s Republic of China “Opinions on Carrying through“ Government Operation Report” Department Coordination” (2018), CAAC, the National Health Commission “Execution Plan on Aviation Medical Rescue Coordination Experimental Work” (2019). These documents provide specific guidance toward policies, strategic planning, and solid implementation.
In 2018, the Ministry of Emergency Management of the People’s Republic of China was established, which managed a variety of positions and departments about security production, natural disasters, and serious accidents. At the same time, it is the main department responsible for abnormal rescue dispatch and mission execution and also united the aviation rescue force together. The Ministry of Emergency Management of the People’s Republic of China pays great attention to the establishment of the aviation emergency rescue system. On September 6th, 2019, it published the “Emergency Rescue Aviation System Establishment Plan” (Emergency  No.89) and proposed specific requests and implementation plans such as “Constructing Emergency Rescue Aviation Command Platform”, “Establishing Aviation Key Force of Emergency Rescue”, and “Optimizing Emergency Rescue Aviation Security Terms”.
As the industry management department, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) manages the operation specifications of general aviation companies and general airports. In terms of financial subsidies, the CAAC encourages and supports the development of the general aviation industry to assist with construction of an aviation emergency rescue system. On the other hand, the National Health Commission has explored new highefficiency rescue methods in the medical field.
The first aviation rescue national team – China Aviation Rescue & Emergency.
The establishment of an aviation emergency rescue system is a vast and complex engineering feat involving aspects of the national economy, social development, and national defense construction. It is necessary to be strongly promoted, from the top design to overall planning, with factors such as system construction, regulations and mechanisms, scale development, and industrial operation. Exploiting factors such as centralized management, unified deployment, rapid reaction, focus and concentration, professional development, appropriate size, support improvement, the aviation emergency rescue system can play to the strengths of central and local governments, enterprises, and institutions to promote it step by step.
As the “First National Aviation Rescue Team”, China Aviation Rescue & Emergency Holding Company (China Aviation Rescue & Emergency) is dedicated to creating an aviation rescue service system covering the country, serving the public, in line with international standards, secure, and highly efficient. Using province and region as its unit, China Aviation Rescue & Emergency can provide safe and high-efficient all-day aviation medical rescue services to main regions nationwide and aviation emergency rescue services when accidents happen.
Since its establishment, China Aviation Rescue & Emergency has been committed to emergency aviation rescue following important instructions from president Xi Jinping and the document requirement form〔2019〕#89. This platform serves as a bridge between the demand and providers as an informative platform and service. Taking advantage of current resources and integrated viable forces, this platform can meet the demands of administrative departments and users by providing a one-stop service.
China Aviation Rescue & Emergency has planned to promote work by drawing upon experiences gained in key areas, formulating a pilot scheme at the provincial level, and then spreading this to other provinces/regions. That is why China Aviation Rescue & Emergency has established a rescue base in Zhejiang province which has gradually spread to the Yangtze River Delta Area. China Aviation Rescue & Emergency proactively attended the aviation aid safeguard for major national projects and communicated with related corporations from all over the world. Combining other resources, China Aviation Rescue & Emergency can improve the functions of the aviation aid system.
On July 16th, 2021, Henan Province suffered from floods due to heavy rainfalls. China Aviation Rescue & Emergency reacted quickly and took responsibility to execute rescue missions. On July 22nd, against all odds, China Aviation Supplies assembled one utility (equipped with professional onboard medical facilities) light-twin Bell 429 helicopter which was dispatched overnight to disaster areas with consolidated operational capabilities. As a result, China Aviation Supplies became the “first and only” case of a central enterprise combining with social forces to fight floods. In the continuous three-day rescue process, China Aviation Supplies easily executed missions such as Xinhua’s aerial photography for news reports, supplies delivery for nursing homes, schools, trapped communities as well as medical hospital transfers. It has departed 17 times, patrolled cities with more serious disasters such as Xinxiang Weihui, Hebi Junxian, Zhengzhou Baisha, brought around ten thousand pieces of supplies and saved thousands of people. When China Aviation Supplies fought against the disasters in Henan Province, it simultaneously responded to the need from the emergency department in Hebei Province beforehand. China Aviation Supplies rescue team went to Shijiazhuang for disaster prevention surveillance, which provided decisive support for disaster prevention and reduction. This action demonstrated what central corporations should do: they should come forward, regardless of gains or losses, and move forward courageously with positive energy. Thus, it can influence more social forces to follow, allowing central and local forces to work together.
China Aviation Rescue & Emergency sufficiently fulfills the social duties as a central corporation whilst promoting industry development. By creating a platform-based company, China Aviation Supplies and Aviation Rescue can work together to play an important role in aviation rescue. This is reflected in the following three aspects:
Connecting supply and demand as well as up and down has been set as the goal for China Aviation Rescue & Emergency. It is dedicated to becoming an important starting point of the government’s emergency decision-making and a powerful way to enhance the rescue ability and standard of corporations.
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