How do you us them??????...
Do you have them put on stand by when called out to a mva or a bad call ????.
Do you wait on scene or drive to meet them on the way to the trauma hospital.

In my area the closest Chopper 35 mins to a hour away..
Alot of time we load pt then drive up 81 to a landing zone then unload pt to chopper..
Closet Trauma center 100 miles away both directions...
Just would like to know how other people do it ..
If they have one or would they like to see one come to there area....

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There are two options in my county for an EMS heli... MedFlight and UCAN

Generally we only use them on bad MVA's. The call is made while enroute to the scene depending on how it was dispatched. If we know there are severe injuries, we will ask that they fly right away. Sometimes we ask to have them on standby if were not sure.

I'm not sure where Medflight fly's from but they can usually meet us on scene. I think they are only about twenty minutes away from our coverage area. UCAN flys from the University of Chicago and takes a while longer to get there. In the case that Medflight cannot fly, we will call for UCAN and have them meet us at a local hospital.

MedFlight flys with a flight nurse and a paramedic. UCAN flys with a flight nurse and a trauma MD.

The problem with the heli's is that the weather has to be just about perfect for them to fly. Most of the time when we ask for them, they say that they are not flying.
When our county (Northumberland County, Pa.) dispatches for a MVA they also call Lifeflight and have them stand-by. Someone on the scene will call county and let them know if Lifeflight is needed or not. We are lucky in that Lifeflight can make it to my response area in about 10 minutes.
Where I work, Calstar is the only commercial game in town as far as medivac response. As a back up, we can use our helos (UH-1 Huey's Vietnam Vintage), the CHP helo or if dire we can ask for mutual aid from an air force base rescue group of neighboring fire department air resources.

As far as answering your questions regarding SOG's / useage, a map was made for the county that identified ground ambulance response times verses using air resources. For specific areas that had long response times, automatic aid Calstar responses are made. When the engine gets toned out, so does Calstar. The first arriving company officer has the authority and responsibility to either continue or cancel the response.

If the helo is going to land, then the first in Captain has to relay specifics such as GPS location, weather, overhead clearance information and wind direction are conveyed to the responding chopper. Every one of our engines have a small nylon pack that holds three weighted strobe lights to create a night time LZ. Our furthest response by ground is over 2.5 hours with our backcountry.

Having access to air resources, specially ours that are equipped with winches has made a spectacular difference in how we provide service to the public and has certainly made a difference in my life. It so sucks to have to carry someone out of a canyon... : ) Now what used to take several personnel setting up an over the side rope system has been replaced by a one of our young firefighter paramedics who just love to rapel out of helicopters. The Captain stays in the bird, operating the electric hoist and communicates with dispatch, the paramedic on the ground and the pilot.

Hope this helps give you some insight on how it's done on the West coast... Stay safe, CB
We have Southstar... It's ETA is usually around 18 minutes.... County puts them on standby when they get a call that they think may need them. Then either the EMS crew, fire chief, or Life Support tells them to fly. Our LZ is usually on scene. EAch trauma center is 25-30 minutes away, but usually we use them when there's bad entrapement or diffucut to get the pt out of such as a peach orchard in the mud.
Central/Northern CT has Lifestar out of Hartford Hospital. They ususally take 15-18 mins. to get out to Stafford. They have just started a pilot program in Tolland County to Autolaunch on receipt of an apparent critical call, i.e., mva w/ejection. They have 2 helicopters in their program. We also have the option of a helicopter out of Baystate in Springfield, MA or another out of Worcester, MA. Obviously, they would take longer. We might have them land at or near the scene, or do what's called a "modified scene" where the helicopter meets the ambulance at the helipad at Johnson Mem. hospital (JMH is not level 1 trauma). Air transport is probably one of the best programs to ever come to EMS. Just my two cents. TJC
"The local ERs are, well, not exactly trauma centers. However, they have these things called......doctors, x rays, labs, ect".

"We either transport to the ER and meet the bird, (before or after a doc sees the pt in the ER) or we have a scene landing and the patient is transported via the bird to the trauma center".

Veterinary hospitals have the above, but I'm not sure that a patient suffering major trauma or illness would be getting the best care. I've had many disagreements fights over transporting a patient to a trauma center or to a local band aid station. If a patient warrants a helicopter ride, then they go to the trauma center. Why are we going to waste time taking a patient to the local hospital which , yes can take x rays, maybe a CT, do labwork, only to have them die waiting to be transferred to a facility which can do all that and fix it too.

I would have some concerns involving EMTALA, COBRA, or what ever the law is called in your state. These laws are pretty straight forward about dumping patients on other hospitals. There is an investigation underway now about a local service and hospital allegedly violating EMTALA when utilizing Hospital property to fly a patient to the trauma center.

To answer your original question anne,

Depending on the call information we get, we might place them on stand by, but usually will just call them out once we arrive on scene and do an evaluation. Sometimes LE calls for them before we get there. I have many predesignated LZs in the area with known coordinates if there is not a good place to land them at the scene.

Also, we do not only use them for trauma. Rapid onset CVA,s may be flown and some cardiac related issues as well. If there is going to be >20 flight to scene, we usually load and go.
EMS dispatch is pretty good about auto-lifting an aircraft from information they receive from the caller here. But the EMS unit responding to the scene monitors our frequency so it's pretty easy to recommend an aircraft once we get on scene. We are only 15-20 min flight time from 2 Level 2 Trauma Centers so we are pretty fortunate.
We have two in the area. Mercy Flight is located in Buffalo, NY (60 miles away), and Olean, NY (30 miles away). They are also contracted with the New York State Police Helicopter in Batavia, NY. There is also the Erie County Sheriffs Department Air One. The other in the area is Star Flight located in Jamestown, New York (30 Miles).
We usually have them respond for severe MVCs and Stroke Cases. The main Trauma center is located in Buffalo, with another in Erie, PA. Preference is given to Star Flight because their helicopters are side load until recently with two new helicopters that are rear load. They however have no tail rotor. Dispatch will check the status of Mercy and Star Flight on certain calls and will advise us of their status before we need or don't need them. Our landing zone is usually at the School's football field, but are not limited to using that alone. We have been known to use the County Fair Grounds, farmer's fields or right in the middle of the road. We also had the UH-1 Huey from Star Flight land in the County Highway Department parking lot. Not the best place to land but they chose it on their own.
In allegheny county we have STAT MedeEvac and Lifelight. Both of which take at most 15 min eta once they are activated. Usually about 5 to ten minutes more toward the 5 side. We load and take them to the closest LZ drop the bird load it and off to a truama center in the area there are 3 or 4 and it takes about 5 to 10 to get them there.
We are located about 20 mins drive outside of the city of Pittsburgh.
We have an EMS helicopter stationed right next to one of our fire houses so it is nice to have a quick response from them. Most of the time we specifically request them through our dispatch, however in some of our remote backcountry areas they are automatically dispatched based on access. Many times they are able to land and transport without our assistance. Usually we await thier arrival and occasionally rendezvous with them at a better location if need be. Our nearest trauma center is 30-40 min away but we sometimes land them at our hospital to transfer the patient. We deal with helicopters quite often having a major highway running through our District, not to mention ski resorts and backcountry recreational areas that are very popular during summer and winter. We also use CHP helicopter that has a hoist for difficult extractions.
Anyway we wil typically set up the LZ for them, giving them GPS coordinates and descriptive location. We have a really good relationship with these crews, because we see them every day. That familiarity with them helps us a lot. Hope that answered your question.
We call them from the scene once we get there and assess what we have. Depending on the ETA of MedFlight we will transport to Hospital landing zone. We never wait on scene for Helocopter or ALS. Just delays pt care.
You want to royally piss off a helicopter pilot?

Call his aircraft a "chopper".

The correct term is "helo".

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