Medevac is a term used in short for "Medical Evacuation." It is the evacuation of people (usually by air transportation) to a place where they can receive medical care. The term medevac is frequently applied to a vehicle, plane, or helicopter when it is used as an ambulance, sometimes being called an "air ambulance". This allows for the rapid transportation of critically injured people from the scene of the accident to the hospital. Almost every hospital has a medevac station located at their health site, often a helipad, but in cases where one is not located, parking lots can be used. A medevac does not only have to deal with the transportation of injured people from the scene of an accident to a health facility, but can also be from a hospital to another hospital. What makes the transport vessel a medevac is the seriousness of what is being transported. It can be the relocation of an organ, a body, doctors, rescue teams, or any other form of help and/or medical provisions.
Medevac can also be associated and interchanged with other terms. The term "LifeFlighted" refers to the flight of a sick or injured person. However, the term "Medevac" refers to the actual vessel doing the transportation. The term "lifeguard" refers to the United States Coastguard and is assigned to a particular aircraft or helicopter. In this case, the term "lifeguard" is always applied to the transport it is assigned to, whether in transport with a serious medical emergency or not. News and TV shows will often refer to medevac as being airlifted. Many times, an accident will occur, such as on an interstate or highway, and traffic will make it impossible to transport the injured to a hospital in a timely manner. This is when a helicopter will be brought in and allowed to land at the scene of the accident, making it possible to transport the critically injured to a health facility without the hassle of traffic or indirect roads.
In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration has established a list for all aircraft in terms of priority, and emergencies are at the top. Once a pilot declares an emergency, air traffic control must make that pilot a top priority and divert all other aircraft out of the pilot’s way. Unlike a pilot’s emergency, a medevac will automatically have priority and assume the role of an emergency. However, unlike an actual emergency, the nature in which the medevac exists will be known to air traffic control and practical priority will be given instead of immediate.