To request Nightingale, please call 1-800-572-4354.
Dispatch: Nightingale is dispatched by our own Communication Center located at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. If Nightingale is unable to respond due to weather, mechanical issues, or if on another mission, our Communication Center will assist the requestor by finding the next closest means of transport via air or ground.
When calling for a scene request, be prepared to give the following information:
- Requestor's name and agency
- Type of incident
- Location including nearest cross street
- Call back number
- Ground contact
- Radio frequency
When calling for an interhospital flight, be prepared to give the following information:
- Requestors name, hospital and unit
- Type of patient Age of patient
- Patient weight IV drip medications
- Call back number
- Referring physician
- Accepting physician
- Receiving hospital and unit
The "stand-by" option was established in an effort to meet the needs of those facilities and agencies that utilize the Nightingale service. In situations when the helicopter might be needed, the helicopter can be put on stand-by for up to 20 minutes. The use of the stand-by does not reserve the helicopter for use by the facility or agency calling. The intent is to give advance warning to the crew of a possible need for air transport. In response, the crew will station themselves at the helipad and make all preparations for flight, short of launching.
If the helicopter is needed, call 1-800-572-4354 to request that the helicopter be officially dispatched. If no further word has been received after 20 minutes, the communication specialist will use the call-back number to check with the facility or agency.
Scene or interhospital requests received while Nightingale is on stand-by will be handled by protocol. In general, scene requests receive priority over interhospital transfer requests. Anytime the helicopter must respond on an immediate mission, the stand-by requestor will be notified that the helicopter is no longer available.
Auto Launch Requests
For requesting agencies outside a 25NM distance from Nightingale’s base at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, the Nightingale crew can assist in creating a “Auto Launch Policy” with your agency. In general, this policy will allow Nightingale to be “Auto-Launched” when you received information on a call where there seems to be a high likelihood that air-medical transport will be needed. This allows the crew to get airborne quicker. When units arrive on scene, if they feel Nightingale will not be needed, they can cancel the aircraft and we will return to base. However, in the event they are needed this will greatly reduce the amount of time needed to get the aircraft to the scene. If your interested in setting up a “Auto Launch Policy” with Nightingale, please email us at Nightingale@sentara.com and with your contact information and a crew member will contact you to discuss setting this up.
Nightingale is a VFR (Visual Flight Rule) program. There are specific weather minimums that must be met before a mission is accepted. Weather conditions must remain within limits along the entire route of the mission and for the entire anticipated time frame. The pilot uses multiple methods to determine the current forecast.
When weather is a factor, the program will be placed on a weather check either locally (within 25 NM), outside local area (greater than 25 NM), or both. When weather is a concern, Nightingale advises that the requesting agency to call 1-800-572-4354. This allows the pilot to assess the weather and determine if the minimums allow the helicopter to respond.