Vanderbilt LifeFlight Could See Record-Breaking Weekend
by Chris Cannon
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The 2012 Memorial Day weekend has become one of the busiest for crews working with Vanderbilt LifeFlight. By late Monday they had flown more than 65 trips to provide critical patient care.
"Anything that goes on outdoors and we've seen an accident involved with it this weekend," said Jerry Jones from Vanderbilt LifeFlight.
The number of patient flights this holiday weekend is triple that from Memorial Day 2011.
"Our communications staff typically handles one phone call or radio traffic every 43 seconds and this weekend it has been non-stop," Jones explained.
He said each case is different, but this weekend there was a common factor among many of the calls LifeFlight responded to.
"Anytime you mix alcohol with outdoor activities the chances of being hurt go up tremendously and we've seen a lot of that this weekend," according to Jones.
LifeFlight has five bases located in smaller communities surrounding Nashville. A map in the communications center was covered in red lines and showed how many trips the University's helicopters made this weekend.
"You have to prioritize which one are going to come in first, which ones aren't," said Kevin Mobley with LifeFlight.
He said the increased traffic this weekend kept dispatchers busier than normal.
"There's not any down time at all, it's nothing but talking to aircraft after aircraft and letting everyone know where everyone else is at, making sure they don't have any close calls," Mobley said.
Vanderbilt has three helipads at its adult and childrens hospitals. In 2011 LifeFlight logged 8,000 takes off and landings at the University's medical facilities.