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Ohio air ambulance company invests in high-tech face masks for flight crews

Premier Health purchased custom-fit masks equipped with reusable filters and built-in microphones for clear communication

By Laura French

DAYTON, Ohio — An Ohio air ambulance company purchased high-tech face masks for its flight crews with built-in microphones for clear communication during flights.

Premier Health CareFlight used its COVID-19 disaster funds to purchase the custom-fitted masks with reusable filters after crewmembers had trouble with traditional N95, P95 and P100 masks, according to WCPO. Crewmembers reported the masks either wouldn’t fit properly, or they would muffle their voices, making it difficult for pilots, flight medics and flight nurses to communicate with one another.

Premier Health’s solution was to purchase P100 Tiger Performance half-respirator masks, which include reusable filters, built-in microphones that can connect directly to crewmembers’ helmets and thicker straps that prevent the mask from slipping off when crewmembers put on or remove their helmets, according to WDTN. The microphones aid crewmembers in communicating both with one another and with air traffic controllers, CareFlight Paramedic and Flight Nurse Molly Nickell said.

The Sidney Daily News reported that Premier Health was the first health service in the Dayton region to implement the use of aviation-specific masks program-wide. Premier Health also reportedly provided the masks to ground ambulance crews to improve communication between providers treating a patient in the back of a rig and a crewmember who is driving.

Nickell said the new masks have reduced stress among paramedics and flight crewmembers, and that other N95 and P100 masks designated for paramedics have been reallocated to increase stock at Premier Health hospitals.