One Goal. One Passion. Every Patient. Every Time.
temp

University Hospital Emergency Medical Services

NorthSTAR

 

 

As a part of the New Jersey JEMSTAR program, University Hospital EMS staffs the medical component of NorthSTAR, acronymed for Northern Shock-Trauma Air Rescue.

Operating from of a fleet of four Agusta AW-139 medevac helicopters piloted and maintained by the New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit, a UH-EMS Flight Paramedic and Flight Nurse provide advanced life support care while in air transit to specialty centers. All medical flight personnel are highly experienced ALS providers that have completed rigorous training in air-medical operations and advanced trauma life support.

Based out of Somerset Airport and dispatched by REMCS, NorthSTAR is available for both on-scene emergency responses and critical care interfacility transfers. NorthSTAR may also be requested to provide air support for search and rescue operations. NorthSTAR also maintains an alternate operating base on the J-Level of University Hospital in Newark where the program was based prior to moving to a more centralized location at Somerset Airport in 2005.

Air medical evacuation should be considered for any victim of acute trauma that requires advanced life support transportation to a trauma or burn center and when the time of scene extrication and ground transport exceeds twenty minutes. (Please refer to the Adult Trauma Triage Protocol)

NorthSTAR may be requested by any public safety agency or private citizen by contacting REMCS at 1-800-332-HELO. Please visit the guidelines sections of this website for more information on NorthSTAR dispatch criteria and safety.

NorthSTAR is the primary medevac servicing the New Jersey counties of Sussex, Morris, Warren, Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Union, Passaic, Bergen, Hudson, and Essex.

Information & Dispatch Guidelines

Air medical transportation should be considered for all victims of acute trauma requiring advanced life support transportation to a trauma or burn center where the extrication and ground transport time would exceed twenty minutes. (External Link: Please refer to the Adult Trauma Triage Protocol)

NorthSTAR may be requested by any public safety agency (Law Enforcement, EMS, Fire) or private citizen by contacting REMCS at 1-800-332-HELO (4356). A specially trained air-medical dispatcher will assist with the request.

When contacting REMCS, the following information should be immediately available:

  • Requesting Agency Name
  • Contact Name and Phone
  • Incident Location
  • Type of Incident or Nature of Injury
  • Number/Age of Victims
  • Location of Landing Zone with Cross Streets
  • Landing Zone Coordinates
  • Contact Frequency/PL
  • Agency Name or Unit of Landing Zone Coordinator
  • Type of request "Stand-by" or "Go"

When NorthSTAR is requested, a request shall also be made for a ground MICU/ALS unit to respond.

REMCS serves as the dedicated air-medical communications center for New Jersey. All air-medical requests from all locations within the state must be directed to REMCS. Should a JEMSTAR aircraft be unable to accommodate the request, REMCS will attempt to arrange a local mutual-aid medevac unit to handle the request.

Weather Requirements

NorthSTAR abides by strict weather requirements to ensure the safety of the flight crew, aircraft, and patient. Weather requirements are based primarily on ceiling and visibility. Prior to each flight, the current conditions within the requested flight path will be reviewed by the NorthSTAR pilots. While attempts are made to accommodate every request, the final discretion on accepting flights is based on safety and resides with the ranking New Jersey State Police pilot in charge.

Basic Weather Requirements for NorthSTAR:

  • Day
    • Minimum Visibility: 2 nautical miles
    • Minimum Ceiling: 800 feet
  • Night
    • Minimum Visibility: 3 nautical miles
    • Minimum Ceiling: 1000 feet

Landing Zone Requirements

  • Landing Zones should be at least 110 feet by 110 feet, level, firm, dry, and free of debris
  • Landing Zone approach should be free of any nearby obstructions (power lines, poles, trees, etc.)
  • Landing Zone should be secured by law enforcement and clear of any vehicle or pedestrian traffic
  • All personnel, vehicles, and apparatus should be kept at least 100 feet from the perimeter of the LZ
  • The corners of the landing zone should be marked with brightly colored cones, lights, or vehicles
  • Use of flares for marking landing zones is discouraged unless extreme care is used in their anchoring
  • Halogen rotators or flashers on public safety vehicles are best for marking landing zones when possible. Excessive use of strobes or spotlights is discouraged.
  • During wet or winter conditions, landing zones should be on paved or concrete surfaces and cleared of excess snow/ice if possible
  • Landing zones not meeting these requirements or those appearing unsafe may be rejected by the pilots

Aircraft Safety Requirements

  • NEVER SHINE LIGHTS AT AIRCRAFT. This includes spotlights, flashlights, strobes, and flash photography. This can distract and/or blind the pilots.
  • NEVER APPROACH AIRCRAFT WHILE ROTORS ARE MOVING. A member of the NorthSTAR flight crew will escort all personnel to and from the aircraft when the rotors have completely stopped.
  • NEVER APPROACH THE AIRCRAFT AT ANY TIME WITHOUT ESCORT OR BY INSTRUCTION OF FLIGHT CREW. The aircraft should only be approached with caution from either side in full view of the pilot. The rotors may move without warning and will cause serious bodily injury. Approaching from the rear is prohibited at all times.
  • SMOKING IS PROHIBITED within 300 feet of the aircraft and perimeter of the landing zone.
  • Safety glasses, helmets, and other available PPE should be worn at all times. Debris may be picked up and thrown by rotor wash. Extreme caution should be used in vicinity of landing zone.
  • All loose items should be secured before approaching aircraft
  • Arms and intravenous lines should never be raised above shoulder height
  • All other instructions given by Flight Crew or State Police shall be followed

Public Outreach

The NorthSTAR Flight Crew staff routinely participates in several public outreach programs to educate the public and public safety representatives about the JEMSTAR mission, history, request and dispatch guidelines, and safety.

The goals of the Public Outreach Programs is focused individually at three main audiences that interact with our program. Community Relations programs are developed to promote working relationships with schools, civic organizations, and groups by providing education on trauma prevention, safety, and the JEMSTAR medevac program.

Public Safety Relations programs focus on educating New Jersey's public safety and emergency services personnel on the JEMSTAR program, dispatch and requesting guidelines, landing zone information, and aircraft safety. This program may also include a tour of our medevac aircraft and increases awareness among Law Enforcement, Fire, and EMS agencies that may utilize on-scene responses of NorthSTAR.

Hospital Relations programs are focused on developing and maintaining strong inter-facility relationships to maintain a seamless continuity of care between sending facilities, NorthSTAR, and receiving facilities/trauma centers. NorthSTAR staff also present an orientation program to hospital physicians, nurses, and staff outlining requesting and transfer guidelines as well as aircraft safety and proper loading/unloading procedures.

NorthSTAR may also be requested to attend and participate in civic events, public safety drills, school and community mock-DUI demonstrations, and other special events. For more information regarding any of our outreach programs including scheduling tours of our medical aircraft please contact our NorthSTAR Outreach Team by clicking on the link below and filling out the online form:

Link: NorthSTAR Safety Outreach Program Request Form

Note: Requests will be reviewed on a first come, case-by-case basis and are contingent on availability of the flight crew and aircraft, weather, and other factors. A minimum of 60 days advance notice is requested to accomodate all requests.

Interfacility Critical Care

NorthSTAR may be requested by attending physicians for interfacility critical care transportation.

All critical care transfer requests should be directed to REMCS at 1-800-332-HELO (4356). A specially trained air-medical dispatcher will assist with the request.

When contacting REMCS, the following information should be immediately available:

  • Requesting Hospital Name/Unit
  • RN Contact Name and Phone
  • Receiving Hospital Name/Unit
  • Sending and Receiving Physician
  • Patient Name, Age, and Diagnosis
  • Specialty Treatment Requirements
  • Location of Landing Zone with Cross Streets
  • Landing Zone Coordinates
  • Contact Frequency/PL
  • Agency Name or Unit of Landing Zone Coordinator

Prior to accepting a critical care mission, the nurse or attending physician must provide a complete patient report to the on-duty NorthSTAR flight nurse, which will be accommodated through REMCS.

Prior to requesting NorthSTAR arrangements must be made with the receiving facility through attending physician.

All weather, safety, and landing zone requirements for on-scene responses apply to critical care missions.