MedComm: Columbus’ Air Medical “Air Traffic Control”
Amanda Ball, Safety Officer
Columbus, Ohio, is home to several trauma centers, burn centers, hyperbaric chambers, and hospitals offering the best in specialized care. Because of this, air medical traffic in central Ohio is often congested. With 9 helicopter teams positioned throughout Ohio, MedFlight is often in the air across the state and potentially crossing paths with other air medical programs in the area.
Since its inception, MedFlight’s communication center, MedComm, has been proudly located in Columbus. These local and highly-trained experts are available 24/7 for your safety needs and have impressive experience in aviation, 911 dispatching, EMS, military service, nursing, and air medicine.
For decades, MedComm has provided flight-following and flight monitoring services for not only our teams, but for other air medical programs visiting central Ohio hospitals as well. With safety as our top priority, MedComm acts as “air traffic control” for all inbound and outbound aircraft in the greater Columbus region. This initiative began as part of a partnership with the Central Ohio Trauma System to help prevent “traffic jams” over hospital helipads, flight paths crossing, and potential near-misses in an already congested urban airspace.
If you work at an agency that transports into the Columbus area, we ask that you contact MedFlight MedComm so we can not only alert other flight teams and hospital security teams of your intended flight path, but we can keep an eye on YOUR safety as well. This needed communication process is broken down into a few simple steps:
- Have your dispatch center call MedComm with your flight path and an ETA. MedComm can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-222-5433.
- Once you are 15 minutes away from your Columbus destination, contact MedComm on the radio. Most visiting flight programs contact MedComm on 155.400 PL 141.3, but you are welcome to contact us on MedFlight’s MARCS channel, labeled as MEDFLT. They will relay any air medical traffic you need to look out for in the area during your mission.
- Columbus is also home to several touring, media, and law enforcement helicopters, 3 major airports, and visiting air traffic (banner planes, blimps, etc) during special events. Please announce your intended flight path and altitude to air traffic on Unicom 123.025 when you are entering Columbus airspace.
Along with overseeing air medical traffic, MedComm is more than happy to assist your teams with their operational needs, like arranging for extra personnel to be waiting on your arrival for patient unloading, contacting your dispatch center if you are out of range, etc.
With your help, we can maintain a safe flying culture in the Greater Columbus area and around Ohio. #PartnersForLife