Recently, bipartisan legislation championed by FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) has been introduced that can make air travel much easier for food allergic passengers. If the bill is passed, it will require airlines to carry epinephrine auto-injectors and train crew members to be familiar with how to recognize and handle a reaction. Read more about the bill and how it was created here.
The next step is to get the bill passed into law. You can help by going to FARE’s Advocacy Action Center and setting up an account (it takes two seconds, I promise). They provide a template letter (which you can customize if you want) and they send it straight to your senators.
Here is the template letter:
Dear [your senator],
As a resident of your state, and someone who is personally affected by life-threatening food allergies, I am asking you to co-sponsor S. 1972, the Airline Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act of 2015, that would improve airline policies regarding food allergies. Like other entities that serve the public, airlines need to be prepared in the event a passenger has an acute allergic reaction during flight.
This legislation was initiated and championed by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), the leading advocacy organization working on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies, and addresses the key concerns raised by the coalition of groups FARE convened in the Fall of 2014 to address improved airline accommodations for food allergic air passengers. This coalition includes Allergy and Asthma Network, Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, and the No Nut Traveler group.
The Airline Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act of 2015 directs the GAO to conduct and submit a report to Congress on air carrier policies relating to passengers with food allergies. The report will cover a range of topics important to the food allergy community, including the content and variability of existing accommodation policies, as well as how those policies are applied, how staff are trained to carry them out and how passengers learn about and utilize them. The study would also explore the incidence of in-flight reactions and emergency landings, costs of emergency landings, and the resources required to develop model accommodation policies.
The bill would require the addition of epinephrine auto-injectors to aircraft within 180 days and calls for crewmembers to be trained on how to recognize the symptoms of an acute allergic reaction and how to administer auto-injectable epinephrine as the first-line treatment of anaphylaxis. Schools in 48 states now stock epinephrine auto-injectors, and according to a 2015 study, more than 300 lives were saved during the 2013-14 school year because of the administration of this medication, often by teachers and other non-medical personnel.
The bill also directs the Federal Aviation Administration and individual airlines to clarify within 30 days that the 1:1,000 epinephrine ampules that are currently included in emergency medical kits are intended to be used for the treatment of anaphylaxis.
On behalf of the thousands of food allergic families in our state, I implore you to co-sponsor this legislation that will make it easier for the millions of Americans with food allergies to avail themselves of air travel.
Thank you for your consideration.
[insert your name]