EMS providers play a crucial role in facilitating helicopter operations and setting up landing zones for patient transport.
Here are key points they need to know:
Landing Zone Criteria:
- The landing zone should be a minimum of 100’x100', suitable for both day and night operations.
- Ensure the site is free of obstacles, hazards, and debris.
- Opt for a firm surface and avoid slopes greater than five degrees whenever possible.
- Soft sand or dirt landing sites should be avoided, but can be wet down as a last resort.
- Conduct a thorough survey of the landing site to identify overhead power lines, telephone wires, antennas, buildings, or tall trees.
- Attempt to remove or limit any obstructions from the landing location.
- If obstructions cannot be removed, inform the flight crew, and be prepared to find an alternative location if necessary.
Marking the Landing Zone:
- Mark the landing zone using weighted cones or position emergency vehicles at the corners, with headlights facing inward to form an X.
- Clearly visible markings help pilots identify the designated landing area, especially during low-light conditions.
- Inform the flight crew of wind direction and speed, particularly if strong winds exist.
- Weather conditions can impact helicopter operations, and pilots need this information to make informed decisions.
- Ensure all nonessential personnel, bystanders, and vehicles are at least 200 feet away from the landing zone.
- This safety buffer protects individuals from potential hazards associated with helicopter operations.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
- Responders operating near the landing zone should wear appropriate PPE, including helmets with chin straps, ear protection, and face shields or other eye protection.
- Be prepared for high wind and noise associated with helicopter take-offs and landings.
- Maintain effective communication with the flight crew before, during, and after the landing.
- Be prepared to provide updated information about the landing zone, weather conditions, and any changes in the situation.
- By adhering to these guidelines, EMS providers can contribute to the safe and efficient operation of helicopter transports, ensuring the well-being of both the patient and the emergency response team.