LifeFlight Eagle Communications Center coordinates among agencies to ensure safety, speed

Rather than taking 9-1-1 calls directly, LifeFlight Eagle responds to calls for assistance from fire departments, EMS organizations, law enforcement or hospitals.

These calls come into LifeFlight Eagle's Communications Center, which serves as the nerve center and hub for inter-agency communication, coordination and safety.

For example, in the case of an accident, fire department or EMS personnel might contact LifeFlight Eagle's Communications Center to request helicopter transport for a critically injured patient from the accident site.

Using sophisticated mapping and tracking software, LifeFlight Eagle Communications Specialists coordinate with the requesting agency to find the precise location of an accident, determine the closest of its four aircraft, then relay precise coordinates to the helicopter pilot, who uses GPS technology and other navigational aids to locate the scene. Once the pilot accepts the flight, the Communication Specialist then advises the requestor as to the aircraft that is en route, and the total time required for lift off and flight.

While en route to the scene, Communications Specialists relay available patient information to the medical flight crew so they can be prepared to treat the patient upon arrival.

Once the crew is airborne with the patient onboard, a Communications Specialist will contact the receiving hospital, letting them know the helicopter is en route with a patient, and when they should expect the helicopter to arrive. This helps ensure the appropriate hospital personnel are waiting and ready, prepared to treat the patient's unique condition immediately upon arrival.

Communications Specialists serve an important safety role as well. They track the helicopter's movement while in flight, ensuring it is safely on track. They work closely with personnel on the ground to help ensure that a safe, secure landing zone is prepared for the helicopter when it arrives at the scene of an accident, or that security staff is keeping pedestrians away from a landing pad at a hospital.

"Good communications is key to ensuring that we provide the fastest, safest transport possible," said Kevin Seaquist, veteran LifeFlight Eagle Communications Specialist. "We make sure our crew in the air, everyone on the ground, and everyone at the receiving hospital knows what is happening, what to expect, when to expect it, and we help make sure everyone is safe in the process."