Medical Transport

OSF EMS Life Flight Helicopter | Medical Transport | OSF EMSOSF Life Flight may be requested by physicians, hospital personnel, emergency medical services, fire personnel, police, emergency management agencies and 911 dispatch centers.

The toll-free emergency dispatch number is 855-OSF-FLYT and is answered 24 hours a day by nationally certified flight communication specialists with EMS experience. Our OSF Life Flight communications center is located in Peoria, Illinois.

Consider OSF Life Flight when your patient requires specialized critical care or rapid transport to or from another in-patient hospital unit. Emergency personnel may request OSF Life Flight directly to the scene of an emergency.

Request OSF Life Flight

What Information Does OSF Life Flight Need to Respond?

The OSF Life Flight communications specialist will require the following information to initiate a flight request. Be prepared to give the following information when you call:

For Scene Response:

  • Your name and the name of the requesting agency
  • Location of the accident or incident; closest major road; or intersection GPS coordinates if known
  • Directions of the scene from the nearest town
  • Number of patients requiring transport
  • Physical address if known
  • A landing zone for the helicopter
  • Hazardous materials involved
  • Name and unit number of on-scene contact
  • IREACH is preferred radio frequency
  • If another flight program turned this down due to weather.

For Inter-facility Transfer:

  • Your name and callback number
  • Name of sending and receiving facility
  • Weight and diagnosis of the patient
  • The current medical condition of the patient (intubated, on drips/how many, any special equipment)
  • Patient location (hospital unit)
  • If another flight program turned this down due to weather.

Coverage Area Map

Why Put OSF Life Flight on 'Stand By?'

Putting OSF Life Flight on 'Stand By' before EMS or fire personnel have arrived on the scene, allows the pilot and flight crew to complete necessary pre-flight acceptance and planning procedures before the helicopter is requested. The aircraft is moved from the hangar, if necessary, and the crew is with the helicopter until activated or declined. If the location of your scene is greater than a 20-mile radius from one of our bases, the aircraft will launch and start en route to your location.

Benefits of Early Notification to OSF Life Flight

  • Decrease in arrival time to the scene by launching, if the scene is outside the 20-mile radius.
  • Decrease lift-off times: once requested to lift, OSF Life Flight can be airborne within three minutes from a ready position.
  • On questionable weather days, pilots are afforded extra time to assure the weather is acceptable for flight.

Established Scene Criteria for Pre-hospital Activation of OSF Life Flight

  • Entrapment - Patients entrapped with significant injuries can benefit from helicopter transport since the helicopter can be en route to the scene while extrication is in progress. Improved patient outcomes have been proven when the patient arrives at a Level I Trauma Center within the first hour of injury.
  • Multiple patients or critical injuries - when multiple victims are critically injured, local resources are overwhelmed. The OSF Life Flight team can assist with triage, treatment and rapid transport of patients. Patients who are critically injured requiring advanced airway management or other advanced life support care will benefit from the capabilities of the flight team, along with fast transport to definitive care at a Level I Trauma Center.
  • Inaccessibility by ground - not all accidents happen in areas accessible by vehicles or personnel. OSF Life Flight is capable of landing in a small area bringing advanced life support to anywhere.
  • Use of local ALS agencies may leave the local region without adequate coverage.
Landing Zone (LZ) Information
  • Daytime: Minimum 100 x 100-foot landing area
  • Nighttime: Minimum 150 x 150-foot landing area
  • The highway may be adequate
  • Level ground is the best, no more than a 5-degree slope
  • GPS (Global Positioning System) coordinates are very helpful
  • Clear of trees, wires, signs and loose debris
  • Ground control by fire/law personnel
  • Keep landing zone clear during landing and take off
  • Monitor radio frequency (IREACH preferred) to facilitate communication before arrival
  • Mark the four corner with lighting or weighted cones and ensure they are secured well
  • If using vehicles to mark LZ, position vehicles at two corners and have headlights cross in the center in the direction of the wind

The pilot may decide (based on what they see from the air) to choose a different landing zone due to safety, wind or other considerations. If this should happen, the pilot will advise you via radio of the change in landing zones. To ensure a safe landing zone:

  • Emergency personnel must remain at least 100 feet from the aircraft during landing or takeoff.
  • Spectators must be a minimum of 200 feet from the landing zone at all times.
  • All loose objects must be secured such as spine boards, carts, etc. Winds generated at takeoff and landing near 80 mph.
  • Protect yourself, especially your eyes from the rotor wash. Any loose gravel, straw, corn, etc. will fly with the wind.
  • Do not approach the aircraft after landing. We will come to you!
  • Please turn off strobe lights since they are very blinding, flashing lights may be left on.
Communications with OSF Life Flight

Always monitor the designated radio frequency for ground-to-air communications. IREACH is the preferred frequency for communication with OSF Life Flight. You may be required to remain in your vehicle to maintain communication as hand-held radios sometimes do not transmit as far.

If radio communications to the helicopter fail or become broken, please contact the OSF Life Flight communication specialist to relay information to the pilot.