Vanderbilt LifeFlight

Helipad Usage Policy for Visiting HEMS Providers

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Policy:     Vanderbilt Helipad Usage

Policy Number

AS 201205-20.09

Department

LifeFlight

Effective Date

April 2012

Approval Date

April 2012

Supersedes

October 2010

Applicable to

 VUH

 

 Children’s Hospital

 

 VMG

 

 VMG Off-site locations

 

 VPH

 

Team Members Performing

 All faculty & staff

 Faculty & staff providing direct patient care or contact

 MD

 

 House Staff

 

 RN

 

 LPN

 

 Other: LifeFlight staff

Lead Author & Content Experts

Peter Patton, Program Aviation Manager-Nashville, Air Methods Corporation. Reviewed 12/22/2011.

 

Specific Education:    YES       NO

 

  1. Purpose:

The purpose of this policy is to describe the requirements and procedures for utilization of Vanderbilt University Hospital (VUH) helipad and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt (Children’s Hospital) helipad.

  1. Policy: 

Any air medical program using the helipads at Vanderbilt, 36°08’52.00”N 86°48’11.00”W, follows the specific information in this policy to maintain safe operations while delivering optimal patient care.

  1. Definitions:
  1. Hot Off-load: Unloading a patient while the rotors are still in motion.
  1. Weather minimums: Weather minimums are reported in ceiling height in feet / visibility in statue miles. For example, 800/2 describes an 800 foot ceiling and 2 miles visibility.
  1. NVG: Night Vision Goggles.
  1. TAWS: Terrain Avoidance Warning System.
     
  1. Specific Information:
  1. Civil air medical programs carry aircraft liability insurance with a limit of liability of $20,000,000 for each occurrence. The LifeFlight Program Manager is provided a copy of the Certificate of Insurance and is immediately notified in the event of a policy change or cancellation.
  2. Only LifeFlight aircraft may utilize the inner helipad at VUH.
  3. The pilot remains available to relocate the aircraft immediately after off-loading, if it deemed necessary by the Communications Center.
  4. When a U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter lands on the Skyport at VUH, it may land perpendicular to the inner pad.  In this position, the Blackhawk's rotor blades are spinning dangerously low at the location one would enter or exit the helipad using the center metal stairway.  This stairway is not used to access the helipad until the Blackhawk is completely shut down.
     
  5. Communications
    1. Vanderbilt LifeFlight’s Communication Center is advised by phone or by radio at least 20 minutes prior to landing to request permission to land.
  1. All landings and departures are coordinated through the communications center to insure that all pilots are aware of the landing and departure intentions of the other aircraft.
  1. Arrivals: Air medical programs contact the LifeFlight Communications Center on radio frequency VHF air 122.975 at twenty nautical miles from the helipad, at ten nautical miles from the helipad, at five nautical miles from the helipad, and on final to the helipad to insure that the helipad and cranes are secured.
  2. Departures: Air medial programs contact the LifeFlight Communications Center on radio frequency VHF air 122.975 prior to departure and at 5 nautical miles from the helipad.
     
  1. Multiple aircraft
    1. When the outer pad is occupied and aircraft are inbound, the aircraft on the outer pad may be asked to reposition to Children’s Hospital helipad or John Tune airport. Every effort is made to have the VUH outer pad or VCH helipad cleared prior to a helicopter arriving with a patient on board.

    2. When the need for triaging patients exists, Flight Communications makes the triage decision based on information provided by the medical crews of the inbound aircraft.  Flight Communication personnel may need to consult with medical control if the proper decision is not evident. Helicopters with patients on board take priority for landing at the Vanderbilt helipads, regardless of brand.

    3. If at any time the pilots or medical crew determine it to be unsafe to reposition the aircraft due to time constraints or inability to prepare for departure in time for inbound aircraft, the inbound aircraft may be delayed or diverted elsewhere.

    4. Once an aircraft other than LifeFlight checks in with an ETA of 20 minutes or less and both helipads are occupied, Flight Communications informs them that the helipad is currently occupied and they may anticipate being diverted. As space is needed, Helicopters that have no patient on board are repositioned to the airport or other landing area until all patients have been delivered.

    5. If a visiting aircraft is required to divert, every effort is made to assist them in picking up their medical crew members.  Air medical programs are responsible for arranging ground transportation for their patient(s) if diversion is required.
     
  1. Patient unloading

    1. Medical flight crews take responsibility for unloading patient from their helicopter.
    2. If unloading assistance or medical assistance is needed, flight crews request assistance through Flight Communications as soon as possible prior to landing.
    3. If assistance is requested, as workload allows, flight coordinators assist the flight crew with unloading patients from the aircraft.  If workload does not allow a flight coordinator to assist, the coordinator contacts the Emergency Department or other appropriate assistance to respond to the helipad.
    4. For Balloon Pump, Level 1 and all intubated patients, unloading assistance should be anticipated for the flight crew as they may not be able to communicate this need in a timely manner. If the workload of the flight coordinator allows, they provide the assistance. If the flight coordinator is unable to assist, they ensure other appropriate assistance is available.

 

  1. For bariatric patients, the ratio of one person per patient’s 100 pounds of weight is used to request assistance for off loading the patient.

 

  1. Hot off-loads are not performed without the expressed permission of the LifeFlight Communications Center.  The decision to hot off-load is based on patient care issues, with the safety of ground personnel taking priority. If Vanderbilt LifeFlight staff is not available to assist with the hot-off load, the air medical program performs the hot off load without assistance.  Other VUMC staff do not assist.

 

  1. If a visiting aircraft crew requests medical assistance from a Vanderbilt team member or a Vanderbilt team member identifies specific interventions that the patient requires, that Vanderbilt team member assumes primary responsibility for the patient’s care. The Vanderbilt medical team member receives report from the transporting service. Although the Vanderbilt team member has assumed primary responsibility for patient care, the transporting service accompanies the patient to the receiving area and give a full beside report whenever possible.

 

  1. There is a transport stretcher with an oxygen cylinder with adequate oxygen for patient transport available to transporting services. Under these stretchers, there is basic resuscitative equipment consisting of a self-inflating resuscitation bag, mask, and suction device (either mechanical or electrical).

 

  1. If additional assistance is needed, specifically request the need for assistance (e.g., airway assistance, lifting assistance), by Vanderbilt personnel.

 

  1. Weather conditions

 

  1. Vanderbilt helipads are not be used by visiting, non-Vanderbilt aircraft if the actual weather conditions do not meet these minimums:

 

Weather Minimums with NVGs or TAWS

 

Day

Night

Local Area

800/2

800/3

Cross Country

800/3

1000/3

Weather Minimums without NVGs or TAWS

 

Day

Night

Local Area

800/2

1000/3

Cross Country

800/3

1000/5

 

 

  1. Wind conditions

 

  1. All aircraft approaching the Skyport are notified by Flight Communications when sustained winds are 20 knots or higher and when a 15 knot gust spread has recently occurred.

 

  1. The helipad is closed to any visiting, non-Vanderbilt aircraft when winds are sustained at 35 knots or more and/or there is a 15 knot gust spread.

 

  1. Any aircraft positioned on the helipad before adverse wind conditions exist are notified by Flight Communications when such conditions develop.

 

  1. The option to utilize the inner pad at VUH helipad by LifeFlight aircraft during high or gusty wind conditions is at the discretion of the pilot in command of the aircraft.

 

  1. If any crew member is uncomfortable with any wind speed or gust spread, the crew has the discretion to land at an airport or ground helipad.

 

  1. Flight Communications notifies the LifeFlight Administrator on Call when adverse wind conditions exist.

 

  1. Revocation of privileges of use

 

  1. Failure to comply with these guidelines results in the immediate revocation of the privileges to use Vanderbilt helipads.

 

  1. If permission to land is denied by the LifeFlight Communications Center, a written report is submitted to the Program Manger before the end of the shift.  The Program Director submits this report along with other supporting documentation to Medical Director, Administrative Director, and General Counsel. The report contains the following elements:

 

  1. Service involved;

 

  1. Date and time;

 

  1. AWOS weather at both KBNA and KJWN airports; and

 

  1. Visual weather check by using one of the following tower landmarks within a 1 mile radius of VUMC:

 

Tower

Location

Latitude

Longitude

Elevation
(Above ground level)

LifeFlight

Skyport

36°08’33”N

86°48’03”W

168 ft

VUMC MCN

21st Avenue

36°08’41”N

86°48’03”W

168 ft

Metro OEM

Compton Ave

36°07’48”N

86°47’28”W

213 ft

Vanderbilt Plaza

2100 West End

36°09’02”N

86°48’06”W

158 ft

Belmont

Belmont Blvd.

36°08’52”N

86°47’40”W

198 ft

Baptist Hospital

2000 Church St

36°09’15”N

86°48’10”W

155 ft

Mediatel

1101 Edge Hill

36°08’34”N

86°47’12”W

176 ft

Teletouch

612 West Ave

36°15’00”N

86°44’18”W

183 ft

Centennial Medical Ctr

230 25th Ave North

36°08’41”N

86°48’34”W

155 ft

 

  1. Helipad closures

 

  1. When a Vanderbilt helipad is closed, the following are notified:

 

  1. Vanderbilt University Hospital Administrative Coordinator;

 

  1. Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Administrative Coordinator;

 

  1. LifeFlight Administrator On Call; and

 

  1. LifeFlight PR Manager.

 

  1. Notifications continue every 12 hours (7a and 7p) while the helipad is closed, and when the helipad is re-opened.

 

  1. Air medical services are directed to utilize an alternate landing area such as another Vanderbilt helipad or airport while the aircraft is out of service.

 

  1. Flight Communications coordinates any medical assistance, patient transport services, ambulance transport or other assistance needed to move a patient to the receiving hospital while a Vanderbilt helipad is out of service.

 

 

  1. Approval:

 

Jeff Gray, EMT-P                                                                   August 1, 2011

Communications Manager

 

Jeanne Yeatman, RN, EMT, MBA, MOM                             April 26, 2012

Program Director, LifeFlight

 

Brent Lemonds, MS, RN, EMT-P, FACHE                          April 26, 2012

Administrative Director of Emergency Services

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