Casevac vs. Medevac: What Are the Differences?

Sean Bryan / June 20, 2023 /

Emergency transportation is essential for preserving the life and health of those who are sick or injured. A casevac and medevac are common types of urgent medical transportation that offer different benefits depending on a patient’s situation.

What Is a Casevac?

Casevac is short for casualty evacuation. This method of transport conveys injured civilians or military members from fighting zones and battlegrounds to a medical facility. These evacuations are driven by urgency, so they are conducted by the closest team regardless of their medical background. General-use vehicles or aircraft may also transport patients if they are readily available to move the injured individuals quickly, but they have limited medical equipment to care for patients en route.

Rotor-powered aircraft such as helicopters work best for casevac situations since they can land and take off from nearly any location. Fixed-wing aircraft and ground transportation are also viable options depending on the terrain accessibility and the proximity of medical centers.

What Is a Medevac?

Medevac refers to medical evacuations. These evacuations take careful planning and organization to ensure safe and quick patient transport from various locations, such as an accident scene, a medical facility or even a cruise ship.

Vehicles and aircraft used for medevac situations are purpose-built, meaning they have the equipment and space to properly attend to a patient throughout transport. Fixed-wing aircraft are usually best for medevac situations since they can cover long distances quickly to help patients in urgent situations get to far-away medical centers. They also allow more room for medical equipment and personnel to care for patients during the flight.

A medevac differs from medical repatriation in that patients require immediate attention on a medevac flight. Repatriation is usually for individuals who have already received urgent care and are no longer in critical condition.

Similarities Between a Medevac vs. Casevac

Medevac and casevac operations both have the goal of transporting injured or sick patients with speed and efficiency so that they can get the medical attention they require. These evacuation methods focus on the safety and health of those being transported. Casevac aircraft are usually armored, while medevac aircraft are protected by the Geneva Conventions, so both forms of evacuation offer security.

Casevac and medevac transport are for patients with injuries or sicknesses that pose a threat to their life or limbs, such as:

  • Heart attacks
  • Fractures
  • Strokes
  • Pulmonary problems
  • Trauma
  • Diseases
  • Severe mental illness
  • Head, neck or spine injuries
  • Loss of blood

The Difference Between a Casevac and Medevac

While a casevac and medevac are both focused on transporting patients, they offer different benefits for various situations. The main differences between the evacuation methods include:

  • Reason for transport: Casevac transport is mainly for those injured on the battlefield or within a fighting zone, while a medevac accommodates a broader scope of patients.
  • Level of planning: A casevac requires immediate action to get individuals to safety, while a medevac allows for a little more time to plan and get organized.
  • Medical personnel: The closest unit on hand, whatever their specialties, is usually the one to respond to a casevac situation, while a medevac ensures trained medical professionals are dispatched for transport.
  • Distance: Medevac transport is generally for medium- to long-distance trips, while casevac transport is often best for short distances.
  • Urgency: Patients who require a medevac may or may not have received prior medical attention, so situations may not be as urgent as those for casevac patients, who have received no medical care and are in a dangerous situation.

Contact REVA for a Medical Flight

When you need medevac transportation, you can trust REVA to deliver high-quality services to get you to your destination safely and quickly. We are available 24/7 to assist with your medevac flight, so let us handle the details while you focus on recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our medevac services.