Category: OUTREACH & TRAINING

#StaySafeOnline

Ball, Amandal
Amanda Ball, MedFlight Safety Officer

About a decade ago, while social media was still in its infancy for organizations like ours, I “took over the reigns” as administrator for MedFlight’s social accounts.  At that time, we had a presence on Facebook and Twitter, and had been posting friendly, benign messaging.  There was no real “training” to send me to at that time… I learned as I went, as most “social media experts” did (and still do), fitting the work in when I had the time between other work duties and real-life to-do lists.

After a few years of self-training, research, and a lot of real-life experience, successes and stumbles, I was able to find a FEMA/DHS-level social media course that focused on the usage of social media in disaster management.  To say that course opened my eyes would be an understatement.  Established and vetted public service social media administrators led the course and reiterated the importance of a consistent presence online during both “blue sky” and “gray sky” days, the importance of social media policy (internal and external), and the importance of protecting your online privacy.

I was hooked, and the class reiterated that my own “self-training” was paying off… MedFlight was ahead of the curve with a lot of these practices already in place.  A few months later, I became an instructor of the class, and now teach three FEMA-level social media courses to government and public safety personnel, nationwide.

Your online privacy and identity as a community member, and healthcare provider, are very important…  In this day and age, it does not take much for information posted online to go ‘viral’… perhaps seeping out of the post’s original context and creating a larger problem once shared without the accompanying story.  We recognize that social media can be a great communication tool and a great way for families and loved ones to connect… but it can also be a hub of misinformation and safety threats.  Because of this, we’ve always taken proactive steps at MedFlight to help protect our employee’s online presences.  Here are a few:    

Employee last names are not utilized in posts, their badges “pixelated” when possible to protect their identity.  “Photo credit” is not given to crew members if they take the photo and share it with me for organization use.   All photos shared on MedFlight accounts are reviewed and approved.  All social media posts are archived.  We drafted an internal social media policy.  Why do we go through so many steps?  To protect and respect the online identities of MedFlight team members. 

What you can do to stay safe online:

  1.  Don’t post anything to your social media accounts that you don’t want a stranger to know, you don’t want a partnering agency to see, etc.  Everything you post online (including comments, “likes” and pictures) can be recorded and shared… regardless of your privacy settings.  Could a screenshot of a direct message be shared outside of the private setting you thought it existed in?  Absolutely.
  2. Do not “tag” yourself, or team members, in agency posts or comments.  When you do this, you are opening yourself up to unwanted friend requests or “follows” from people you may not know, or want to know, outside of work.  Which leads to my third point…
  3. Do not accept friend requests from people you do not know personally and well.  An example: A member of one of our flight teams greeted the critically-ill patient’s family at the beginning of a transport and introduced herself.  The flight time was approximately 30 minutes to the receiving hospital, and, in that time, she had received a “friend request” on Facebook from a member of that patient’s family.  She declined the request once she saw it that evening.  Your account’s settings should ensure your page is as private as possible to those you are not connected with.
  4. Review your social media privacy settings often… the platforms often update your settings on your behalf as they add features to the platform, and you can change them back to ensure your privacy is protected.
  5. “Lock down” your account’s public content as much as you can.  Example: You publically list your address, phone number, and birthdate on your Facebook “About” section.  Your profile picture is a great selfie, and your cover photo showcases your home and children’s faces.  On Instagram and Twitter, you “check in” out of state at different vacation spots while you travel with your family.  A criminal now has a lot of information that confirms you are not at home.  You have also listed your last name, your hometown, your children’s approximate ages with the photo… would it take much work for a stranger to figure out which school they go to?  It does not take much for info you post to get into the wrong hands, and for chaos to ensue.
  6. Consistently review online safety with your coworkers and community leaders.  An internal policy and training program is vital.
  7.  Use two-factor authentification features to help protect your account from hackers, and sign out of your account on every device once you are done viewing it… including on your phone.
  8.  Steer clear of public wifi hotspots when accessing your personal information online.  There are less security measures on public wifi, allowing hackers to access your information quicker.

Remain “situationally aware” while navigating online, and your real-life information will remain as secure as possible.  Take an active role in your online safety!

Find out more about protecting your online privacy: staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/

HEAR or SEE a Manned Aircraft? Land the Drone.

Ball, Amandal
Amanda Ball, MedFlight Safety Officer, FAA Safety Team Representative

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV/UAS/drones) provide a great service when assessing damage in disasters, emergency scenes, and search missions.  This industry will aid first responders and emergency management personnel in ways we’ve not seen before, and at MedFlight, we proactively work to “Share the Air” with UAS enthusiasts and professionals with UAV pilot workshop opportunities, constant conversations with air medical and aviation organizations, and more.

We do ask that UAS pilots “Share the Air” as well.  Manned aircraft (any type of aircraft with a pilot inside and at the controls) have the right-a-away in almost any in-flight scenario you can think of.

While in-flight, our pilot and medical crews are constantly scanning the horizon and communicating risks they may identify to each other.  The helicopter itself is also scanning its surroundings for obstructions with the aid of several comprehensive awareness systems.  The crew also utilizes the customized Air Medical Resource Management training they receive throughout the year to help accomplish their goal of completing a safe mission.  These are just a few pieces of a large effort to remain situationally-aware in an ever-changing environment.

Consider this… on average, air medical helicopters cruise between 120-170 knots, depending on the airframe…around 2-3 miles a minute.  While cruising altitude for VFR flight averages around 1500 ft AGL, flight teams are often descending into destinations well-before they arrive there.  Think of the descent pattern for a commercial airplane when approaching the airport.  It’s the same concept, but over a shorter distance, and with more unpredictability.  Our flight requests differ from day to day, location to location.

How can you help?  If you launch a UAV under a professional OR recreational setting, land it immediately if you see or hear another manned aircraft in the area.  Deconflict the airspace by exiting it as soon as possible.

Manned aircraft teams have a harder time seeing your UAV than you do seeing them… UAVs often blend into the horizon when viewed from above… even with lights, bright colors, etc.

It’s always a good idea to remain situationally-aware while you fly.  We appreciate your efforts to keep our aviation community (including you) safe!

There is a ton of great information out there on safe flying practices.  The FAA has made it easy for UAS enthusiasts and professionals to learn more and stay safe:  Keep up to date on rules and regulations, register your drone, and receive on-going training at https://www.faa.gov/uas/ and https://faadronezone.faa.gov/#/

airspace_classes_large
Graphic courtesy of the FAA.

UAV

SHARE THE AIR: A Workshop for UAS Enthusiasts

Whether you’re a seasoned UAS pilot, or just received a drone for Christmas… the “Share the Air” workshop has something for you.

The goal of this workshop is to network with fellow aviation enthusiasts and promote safety in the fast-growing world of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

Why attend?

 

  • You’ll learn safe flying practices from experience UAS operators with a background in public service & commercial flying
  • You’ll learn about an industry that operates in the same airspace:  Air Medical Helicopters
  • You’ll meet local Ohio State Airport officials and FAA officials, who will provide industry updates and answer any questions you may have
  • You’ll meet MedFlight crew members and tour a MedFlight helicopter
  • You’ll receive a certificate of attendance, thanking you for being a Safety Advocate

 

UAS operators over the age of 10 are welcome to attend.  Operators under 16 years old must be accompanied by a parent, but will receive a special kid-friendly thank you gift for attending!
MedFlight is located at the OSU Airport.  For security purposes, you must have an Eventbrite ticket in-hand or on your device to attend.
Register today, and share with your colleagues.  Space is limited. https://sharetheair.eventbrite.com
We’ll see you there!

Box 5: Serving First Responders

York Township Fire Department and MedFlight Partner to Serve Regional First Responders
by Scott McManus, York Township Fire Department
Nelsonville, Ohio (Athens County) – York Township Fire Department has a new resource to assist regional first responders who provide assistance to the Athens County community during times of crisis.  
 
Thanks to the continued partnership of MedFlight, Box 5 and Athens County’s York Township Fire Department, MedFlight donated a decommissioned Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU ambulance vehicle) to the community to further serve first responders as a relief vehicle.  Box 5 took the vehicle and retrofitted it for response and gave it a new “wrap” that identifies it for a new use.
 
Box 5 is a non-profit organization that provides on-scene rehabilitation such as drinks for the outside temperatures, chairs, shelter, heat, cool misting fans, snack, gloves, and anything else you can think of right down to dry socks to Athens County Firefighters during long running emergency situations.  Pre-hospital providers and law enforcement officers (including search and rescue teams) within a 30-mile radius will be served, including Perry County, Hocking County, Vinton County, Meigs County, and some of Washington County.
 
According to Scott McManus, “While MedFlight provided the vehicle, Box 5’s Director Mark Hall has tirelessly worked to raise financial assistance to outfit and brand the vehicle. This new truck will be much more reliable and will provide much more room than what we currently have in service. We are grateful for each donation that we have received. Each of them as important as the next – from small monetary donations and in house fundraising, to our biggest donation in the form of this new truck.”
 
MedFlight President and CEO Tom Allenstein said, “we are honored to be able to further serve the community and recycle one of our older MICU’s that has saved many lives throughout the years.  This vehicle will now be further used to provide an on-site source of care and relief for those that respond in times of need.”
 
The new vehicle will be displayed on November 16 at the York Township Fire Department located at 15255 Elmrock Road, Nelsonville, Ohio 45764.
 
York Township Fire Department serves the greater Nelsonville, Ohio region which includes Doanville, The Village of Buchtel, and the rest of York Township encompassing a 36 Square Mile area.
 
MedFlight is a non-profit medical transportation company governed by its consortium hospitals including Wexner Medical Center at the Ohio State University and OhioHealth. MedFlight also has a partnership with the Kettering Health Network and Nationwide Children’s Hospital and has preferred provider agreements with many of Ohio’s most prominent hospitals.
 
-END-

Three Souls…


Three Souls” – Bev Meade, MSN, RN, MHA, CEN, CCRN, CFRN, CTRN, TCRN, EMT-P. Flight Nurse, MedFlight 3.

Our pilot completed his safety checklist and risk assessment, and contacted our Columbus, Ohio, Communications Center with the first radio traffic of the morning: “MedComm, this is MedFlight 3. We have 3 souls, 1 hour 30 minutes in fuel, 8 minute ETA.”.  This radio transmission is always given before we lift from our helipad to begin our mission.  The response was as expected from our experienced Communication Specialists watching over all of us… they monitor us flying and driving our patients “to and fro” for this company.  They acknowledged us with “Copy MedFlight 3… 3 souls, 1 hour 30 minutes in fuel, 8 minute ETA”, and we lifted into the cool, pre-dawn calm with our Night Vision Goggles (NVG’s) down and activated.

 

Our mission was to transport a patient with an ST -elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) from a rural area in Ohio to the closest cardiac interventional facility… rapidly, efficiently, and safely.  As we landed at the remote landing zone (LZ), we did as we were taught and as we have done hundreds of times on landing… We focused our attention outside diligently, looking through and around the NVG’s for hazards that could mean disaster for the “three souls” on board.

 

Safety is and has always been a top priority for my company, and I am thankful that we are recognized as one of the most safety-conscious critical-care transport organizations in the state.  We communicated succinctly with the local fire department at the LZ, and were acutely aware that our safe landing could mean the difference between life and death for our patient, whom we have yet to meet, and, of course, for us as well.  Even though the “three souls” on board have thousands of safe arrivals, each landing and takeoff still makes me alert, tensed, & ever-vigilant for the unseen hazards that we all know are out there.

 

“MedComm, MedFlight 3.  We’re ‘skids down’ safely”  is what we all wanted to hear, and that is exactly what transpired.  As usual, I thanked my pilot for a safe landing and waited until the blades came to a complete stop before exiting the aircraft to retrieve the necessary equipment, supplies, and of course… my paramedic! As we walked to the waiting EMS vehicle,  I contemplated what we might find, what might need to be done quickly, and what a difference we can make in this person’s life.

 

After assessing and placing appropriate monitoring equipment on our patient, we departed the EMS vehicle in under 7 minutes to rapidly load & secure our patient for the lifesaving transport he desperately needed.  Our pilot once more pierced the airwaves with “MedComm, MedFlight 3.  Lifting from scene with 4 souls, 1 hour 20 minutes in fuel, 30 minute ETA” and we departed the rural hills of Ohio for the center of the state, where critical interventions awaited this patient.

 

After arriving at the receiving hospital and transporting the patient to the cardiac catherization lab, we became “3 souls” again… the team of 3 who answer the call of duty, who respond without hesitation to help the sick and injured, whose life’s work and studies have led each soul to this place, at this time. And I know that there are others just like us at MedFlight around the nation that are awake at 0200, answering the incoming radio or telephone call, responding just as quickly and safely to save the life of another soul. 

 

The mission was completed, the cardiac vessel reopened, and the patient was recovering to resume his life in southeastern Ohio.  As each of the “three souls” completed the post-flight tasks, readying the aircraft for the flight home… me completing the patient care chart and sending it to the receiving facility, the medic restocking the aircraft for another mission if needed, and our pilot refueling for the flight home or to another destination as needed…  I paused for a moment to consider what we had just accomplished.  All of us played a part in the outcome of this patient: Family, EMS, our Communication Center, all of our ancillary personnel, the flight crew, and receiving facility… Each entity relying on the other to do their jobs and save a life.

 

As we were enroute to our base, I considered the new day dawning as the sunrise peaked above the hills of southeastern Ohio where I call home.  I announced “goggles up”, and I contemplated how each of us have a pivotal role in this mission.  I am still in awe after 20 years serving others in critical-care transport how all of this happens almost seamlessly to improve the outcome of our patients.  But, perhaps, more importantly…  I looked to the right toward my medic, and in front of me to my pilot, and I am thankful that each one of the “three souls” are where they are supposed to be, doing what they are supposed to do, and that each of us bear the burden of safety and excellent patient care and quality transport so that we can hear once more “MedComm, MedFlight 3 is safe on deck with three souls” as we land at our helipad…  Mission accomplished.



	

A Strong Partnership in Portsmouth

MedFlight and Healthnet Aeromedical Services Extend Partnership with SOMC

Portsmouth, OH.  Ohio-based MedFlight and West Virginia-based Healthnet Aeromedical Services are proud to announce the extension of their Preferred Provider Agreement with Southern Ohio Medical Center through 2020.

Healthnet Aeromedical Services 4 / MedFlight 7 is a shared critical-care air medical base located at the Greater Portsmouth Regional Airport and recently celebrated 10-years of service in Scioto County.  Their current provider partnership with SOMC has been in place since the inception of the base and was re-signed in 2014.

“We’re honored to have the full confidence of the leaders and staff at Southern Ohio Medical Center.  We share a wonderful relationship with them and are pleased to have the opportunity to extend it through the end of the decade and beyond,” said Healthnet Aeromedical Services CEO Clinton Burley.

Healthnet Aeromedical Services 4 / MedFlight 7 provides air medical transport from remote scenes as well as from area hospitals 24/7, 365 days-a-year.  The flight teams have many years of experience transporting adult, pediatric, and neonatal patients reliant on ICU-level expertise, equipment and medicine.  The team also carries blood and fresh plasma on the aircraft.

“We’re humbled to be part of the Scioto County community and proud we can provide excellent service to the residents in Southern Ohio in their greatest times of need.  It’s truly an honor that SOMC trusted us to continue to serve them as their air medical provider of choice”, stated MedFlight President Tom Allenstein.  “We’re looking forward to working together with the Southern Ohio Medical Center to better patient outcomes for years to come.”

Learn more about MedFlight at www.MedFlight.com and Healthnet Aeromedical Services at www.HealthnetAeromedical.com.  

Landing Zone Safety and Set-Up

Landing Zone Safety and Set-Up

Remote scene safety is important from the very beginning… and that includes securing a safe landing zone (LZ) for our helicopters. Our healthcare partners can arrange for a Landing Zone Lecture, offering continuing education credit, while enhancing safety and familiarity with our helicopter. Note: Multiple department/agency lectures are encouraged.

Click here to request a Landing Zone Lecture for your location: https://outreach.medflight.com/requests/frmlz.aspx

***Landing Zone Setup***

LZ area should be free of obstructions. Eliminate these hazards:
– Wires (surrounding the landing area and High Tension power lines within 1/2 mile)
– Towers (TV, Radio, Cellular within 1/2 mile)
– Trees
– Signs and Poles
– Buildings
– Vehicles
– People

LZ area should be 100′ X 100′ if possible.
LZ should have as little of a slope as possible (less than 5 degrees).
LZ area should be a hard surface (concrete, asphalt, gravel, lawns, etc.).
LZ corners should be marked with highly visible devices (cones, flairs, strobes).
No debris on landing surface and within 100′ of landing area.
Land the helicopter(s) a safe distance from the scene/patient.
Never point bright lights directly at the aircraft!
Maintain security of LZ while helicopter is present.
Landing Zone Briefing
Type of LZ surface and size
How LZ is marked (cones, flairs, strobes, etc.)
All noted obstructions (see list above)

Precautions!
Never assume flight crew will see a hazard!
Never approach the helicopter unless directed by the flight crew!
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