Activation of a HealthNet Aeromedical Services aircraft is designed to be a simple process, but it is important that the communicator obtain sufficient information to gain flight approval if necessary, launch the aircraft and provide basic patient information to the flight team. Emergency helicopter service can be requested by anyone representing official organizations such as EMS, fire, police, hospitals, industries and governmental bodies. The general public cannot request the service but rather should dial 911 or their local emergency number.
Requests for helicopter stand by or response are received in the Medical Command Center (MedCom) at Cabell Huntington Hospital. MedCom, staffed twenty-four hours a day by paramedics, is the heart of the HealthNet III communications system. MedCom can be contacted by calling 1-800-747-2CHH (2244). Agencies with medical frequencies in their radios may contact MedCom on 155.340 MHz, 155.400 MHz or on any UHF MedChannel. The VHF PL code is 110.9.
By using the HealthNet standby program, we can work together to reduce the response time to the scene of an emergency. When your agency is responding to an incident that you believe will require air transport, we encourage you to place the aircraft on standby. Doing so will put many things in progress that will lead to faster and more efficient patient transport should the aircraft be requested.
When the crew is put on standby, the pilot will check maps and weather, and he/she will also determine if the aircraft requires additional fuel to complete the mission. In MedCom the communicator plots the geographic coordinates for the planned landing site. The medical team assures that all equipment is ready to go and receives basic patient information from MedCom.
When a standby request is received for a potential scene response, HealthNet aircraft will initiate an in-flight standby. The aircraft and crew will fly toward the location of the reported emergency. If the aircraft is needed on scene our response time will be minimized. If the requesting agency arrives on the scene and determines that air transport is not indicated, then MedCom can be advised that the standby can be canceled. No one is charged any money for a standby.
If it is determined that the helicopter is needed, MedCom should be contacted by telephone or radio. You should advise MedCom that HealthNet is requested to respond. The MedCom communicator will obtain the patient's mechanism of injury (if applicable), the extent of the injury or illness, basic landing zone information and a ground contact unit/frequency. There is never any financial screening for a patient requiring helicopter transport and the requesting agency is never billed.