When a person has a medical emergency in a place that is either difficult to access by car or very far away from a hospital, an air ambulance service can replace regular ambulance service. An air ambulance service is a service that provides the same sort of medical attention that a regular ambulance provides; the key difference is that an air ambulance service employs an aircraft instead of a van.
Air ambulance services can be quite important in regions with a very low population density where most people live a long way from the nearest hospital. They can also be very important in ares of very high population density. If, for example, a person experienced a medical emergency during the middle of rush in a large city, an air ambulance service could transport that individual to the hospital in a fraction of the time that it would take a regular ambulance that had to fight its way through gridlock.
An air ambulance service is also sometimes used in the event that a person experiences a medical emergency on the water. Units of the United States Coast Guard, for example, offer air ambulance service to individuals who require immediate medical attention while at sea. This is an especially important service in areas where fishing is a major industry. Because fishing boats often use heavy machinery, even when the vessel is passing through rough water, accidents sometimes happen and can lead to major injury for crew members. It is not always possible for the boat to return to port in time to deliver the injured crew member to a hospital. In these cases, an air ambulance service is required.
In some cases, air ambulance services transport emergency medical supplies and even human organs from one hospital to another. Because human organs are not viable for a very long period of time outside of the body, they must be handled with great care and transported from the organ donor to the person awaiting the transplant swiftly. This is made possible by the use of an air ambulance.