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Thread: Medic helicopter LZ

  1. #1
    davey K
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Medic helicopter LZ

    What SOP's do you use for the LZ?
    Is an engine crew assigned just for fire coverage? If so, are the lines stretched and charged? And, do you setup fire coverage with water or foam?
    Any other suggestions?

    Thanks,
    davey K

  2. #2
    morriss
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    What we do is send an Engine company that establishes the landing zone and provides instructions and characteristics of the LZ to the incoming helicopter. When the helicopter has a visual on the LZ, the crew positions themselves on the unit in full PPE. We don't stretch lines etc. because the need may be more than 200 feet from where the engine is parked. The crew is in position to leave the unit if required. We currently only have pre-piped water capability on our engines. If there was a fire, we could use our class B foam that we carry.

  3. #3
    FFCode3EMT
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    The officer on the engine establishes the LZ and guides the helicopter in by radio. The crew backs up the medic until transport time in which they standby in the event they are needed for fire supression.

  4. #4
    Lt. Chester
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    In CT have LifeStar Based in Hartford They recommend a minimum 0f 60 x 60 LZ. It is usually up to the individual dept's to come up with LZ sop's> Check out ALEA Air Borne Law Enforcement Assoc. also check out Priority1lss.com for some great strobes that can ID your LZ

  5. #5
    RVFDCapt
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In most cases, when a air medic is needed, it is a call in which at least one engine was needed anyway,i.e., MVA, etc... Our air medic wants at least 40x40 area. One officer will contact medic's dispatch and advise who their ground contact is. FF personnel will then police the LZ area for any debris and clear it for landing. When heli is in sight of ground contact, he advises them of all hazards and prepares them for landing. After landing, we control area around heli until liftoff.

  6. #6
    Lieutenant Gonzo
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Most of our helo medevacs are done by New England LifeFlight, but we have also had LifeStar out of Connecticut and Boston MedFlight respond. We have 12 predesignated landing zones in the city. They were set up with the helo drivers and these LZ's are already prgrammed into the helo's GPS systems. If we have to use another LZ, we contact the helo as they approach and inform them of any hazards, etc.

    We send an Engine company to cover the LZ, but we do not stretch any lines for the same reason as Morriss stated.

    ------------------
    We boldly go where no one else dares...
    take care and stay safe
    Lt. Gonzo

    [This message has been edited by Lieutenant Gonzo (edited April 25, 2000).]

  7. #7
    Scene25
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    RVFD Captain, what air service in OH are you referring to, and also what type of helicopters are you referring to, that require a minimum of 40X40?

    The service I am familiar with requires a min of 60X60. Most of the fleet is BK117's, but also have a Dauphine, a EC135, and a Twinstar.

    I am just curious about the minimum of 40X40. The BK117's rotor to rotor is 26.25.

    I am in no way knocking you, or not believing you. Im just asking from a safety point. Thanks and be safe.

    John Williams
    Clairton FD (swPA)
    NRFF1/EMT

  8. #8
    Scene25
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Landing Zone Guidelines

    Please follow these guidelines to establish a safe landing zone:

    Identify one communications officer who:
    has a good sense of direction
    is familiar with the area
    is free from providing direct care to the patient(s)


    Call your communications Center Communications Center and provide the following information so that the closest aircraft can be dispatched to your location:
    Unit calling/call sign
    Radio frequency
    Number of aircraft needed
    Location/Landmarks


    Guidelines to prepare a safe Landing Zone (LZ)

    Minimum 60 x 60 feet
    Ideal 100 x 100 feet
    < 10 degree slope
    Free from debris, obstruction, hazards (i.e., wires, fences, trees, loose objects)
    Mark each corner (independent lighting system, flares, cones, emergency vehicles)


    Once contact has been made with the pilot provide the following information:
    Landmarks:

    Water / radio towers
    Schools
    Tennis courts
    Swimming pools
    High Power Lines
    Major road intersections
    LZ Descriptions:

    Type of LZ (i.e., field, road, construction site)
    LZ surface (i.e., field, grass, concrete, gravel, dirt, snow covered
    Boundaries of LZ (i.e., trees, houses, wires, picket fences, towers)
    Approach and departure pathways


    Notify the pilot when you:
    Hear the aircraft
    See the aircraft
    Direct the pilot to your location using the clock method
    Remember: when using the clock method the pilot is facing 12 O'Clock!

    Landing/Lift-off Safety Guidelines:
    Cover your eyes
    Never approach the aircraft unless directed by the pilot and/or medical crew, then only approach the aircraft from the front
    Keep vehicles 30 feet away
    Keep crowds 100 feet away
    No objects or people in the middle of the LZ
    No flash cameras/white lights
    No running/smoking


    After adequate landing information has been given to the pilot, provide the medical crew with the following information:
    Mechanism of injury
    Injury assessment
    Treatment administered


    http://www.pitt.edu/~cemwp

    Here is a site that may help you out.

    Hope this helps!!!

    Take Care and be Safe!!!

    John Williams
    Clairton FD
    NRFF1/EMT

  9. #9
    S. Cook
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Here's our SOG on this.

    #####

    GENERAL GUIDELINES

    A. For the purpose of this SOG, the CareFlite Ground Operations Manual shall be followed.

    B. On-scene radio communications shall be established with the aircraft as soon as possible.

    RESPONSE

    A. When dispatched to assist in CareFlite landing zone operations only, apparatus response shall be one rescue company and one engine company, depending on available personnel. When staffed short, one engine company shall respond.

    B. When CareFlite is called to a working incident, companies/personnel shall be assigned as required to set up the LZ.

    #####

    Hope it helps

  10. #10
    Jay911
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    I'll try not to bury you under too much, but here's the meat of our SOG on Landing Zones:

    (The full version of this document is available at http://www.redwoodmeadows.ab.ca/fire/sog01007.doc in Word 97 format (and soon PDF).)

    -=-=-

    4.0 PROCEDURE

    4.1 As soon as possible once it becomes clear that a medivac helicopter is required at an emergency scene, and as early as possible before the arrival of the medivac helicopter, the following must be executed:
    (a) Establishment of a Landing Zone Sector by Incident Command.
    (b) Designation of a Landing Zone by the Landing Zone Sector Officer.
    (c) Establishment of radio communication between the medivac helicopter and the Landing Zone Sector Officer.

    4.2 LANDING ZONE SECTOR

    As it becomes apparent that the medivac helicopter will be responding to the scene (or, if conditions suggest that the medivac helicopter may be required at the scene), the Incident Commander should appoint a member as the Landing Zone Sector Officer. The Incident Commander may commit an extra member on-scene to this task, or, he/she may request a member or members standing by at the station to report to the scene to assume the role.

    The Landing Zone Sector Officer should be equipped with the items and information required to successfully designate a Landing Zone. This may include, but is not limited to:
    (a) Full protective turnout gear for all members of the Landing Zone Sector.
    (b) At least one Department (UHF) radio and one Mutual Aid (VHF) radio.
    (c) Flares, or Lights and generators, if darkness or adverse weather conditions exist.
    (d) The authority and manpower to effect a roadblock, if the Landing Zone will be created on any kind of roadway.
    (e) Wind speed and direction.
    (f) Identification of surface material and any precautions necessary at Landing Zone.
    (g) All obstacles impeding flight routes in any direction.

    4.3 LANDING ZONE

    Once a Landing Zone Sector Officer has been appointed, he or she should, as quickly as possible, locate a suitable place for a Landing Zone (LZ). When considering a site for the Landing Zone, the Landing Zone Sector Officer should keep the following in mind:
    (a) The LZ should be at least 30 meters (100 feet) and optimally 60 meters (200 feet) away from the incident scene and/or any bystanders, including Landing Zone Sector personnel.
    (b) The LZ must be as flat as possible. While a fire truck or ambulance can park on a hill with little difficulty, aircraft find it a considerable challenge.
    (c) The LZ should be as free of obstruction as possible. Keep in mind that the rotors on the helicopter are almost as long as the helicopter's fuselage itself, and therefore, when spinning, the rotors are as wide as the helicopter is long. A helicopter can land on a two-lane, shouldered road with no fences, wires, or road signs immediately encroaching upon it.
    (d) The LZ should be easily accessible from the incident scene, to enable easy transfer of the patient. This does not contradict item (a). It is of no use to establish a landing zone that is across the river and up a steep incline from the incident.

    4.3.1 PREPARATION OF THE LANDING ZONE

    After the site of the Landing Zone has been decided upon, steps must be taken to ensure that it is 'helicopter-friendly'; in other words, that no harm will come to the helicopter, its crew, the emergency responders on-scene, or any bystanders, when the helicopter arrives or is present.
    The actions that must be taken include:

    (a) RESTRICTING ACCESS

    This involves ensuring that no unauthorized personnel are within or near the Landing Zone. If on a roadway, this includes blocking off the roadway approximately one-half kilometer (one-quarter mile) on either side of the Landing Zone. At any scene, this includes preventing any personnel-civilian or emergency responders-from entering the Landing Zone unless specifically authorized to do so (see item (c)).

    (b) IDENTIFYING OBSTRUCTIONS

    This involves checking for fences, signs, posts, overhead wires, towers, trees, etc.; any object that projects into the landing zone and/or surrounds it (the STAR-1 literature recommends identifying all obstructions to a radius of 1 kilometer (one-half mile) on all sides of the LZ). If an object is not a permanent fixture (i.e. a portable sign, a parked car, etc) of the LZ, it should be removed.
    If an object such as an overhead wire is present, an emergency vehicle should be parked underneath the wire with its emergency lights flashing. If at night or in inclement weather, park apparatus facing away from the LZ and shut off headlights. All flood lights should be directed toward the hazards.

    (c) REMOVAL OF FOREIGN OBJECTS

    This is the only time that personnel should be permitted into the LZ unless invited into the area by the Air Medical Crew or Air Flight Crew. A thorough, yet rapid search of the entire Landing Zone must be made to identify and remove any debris-large or small-from the area. Keep in mind that the helicopter, even when on the ground at idle, generates a great deal of wind from the rotor blades, and even a piece of debris the size of a playing card could be launched and cause severe damage to anything in its path.

    (d) PREPARATION OF LANDING ZONE

    A square 20 meters to a side shall be identified. This will become the landing zone proper. If practical, Landing Zone area should be dampened with a small amount of water, using a hoseline. Place markers 10 meters apart, three to a side, using a total of eight markers, to define the square. Strobe Beacons make excellent markers. If strobes are unavailable, other highly visible markers may be used (remember that the rotor wash is strong enough to pick up a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood, so markers should be heavy, or well secured). Another flare or marker should be located at the upwind side of the square, to indicate wind direction to the pilot.

    4.4 ESTABLISHING COMMUNICATION WITH THE HELICOPTER

    After selection of a Landing Zone and preparing it for the helicopter's arrival, communication should be established with the helicopter. (If the establishment of the Landing Zone Sector occurred at or before the helicopter was requested, and all has gone well, the helicopter should be approaching the scene at this point.)

    When the helicopter was requested, arrangements should have been made to determine what radio frequency the helicopter will be monitoring while approaching the scene. In most cases, this will be Provincial Ambulance (which is programmed into our VHF radios). If, for some reason, the helicopter cannot or is not monitoring Provincial Ambulance, the person who made the initial request for the helicopter should have arranged for a 'meet' on an alternate frequency. For example, if a Forestry helicopter is being used, rather than STAR-1, it will likely be monitoring the Park Rangers frequency.

    Regardless of the frequency being used to contact the helicopter, the transmission will be a low-power, line-of-sight transmission. This means that communications will likely only be established when the helicopter is within five kilometers of the scene.

    It may be necessary to pass information to the STARS crew prior to their being close enough to establish radio contact. In such a case STARS Emergency Link Center may be contacted by cellular or by land-line. They have the ability to link telephone calls directly to the helicopter.

    When communications with the helicopter are established, proper radio procedure must be followed, as at any other time. The use of the vehicle's call sign (i.e. 50 Panel) should be discouraged, as the Air Flight Crew will not care which specific rig is contacting them.

    In the event that the Landing Zone Sector Officer (or the person he has delegated to effect communications) initiates contact with the helicopter (as opposed to the helicopter first calling the ground crews), the transmission should sound as follows (assuming that the helicopter that is about to arrive is STAR-1, and the frequency being used is the Provincial Ambulance frequency):

    "STAR-1, STAR-1, this is Redwood Meadows Fire Department on Provincial, over"

    Note: If the helicopter has a call sign, i.e. STAR-1 or HAWC-1, the transmission should be made using the call sign. If the helicopter only has a tail number, i.e. C-FCPS, the transmission should be made using that call sign, keeping in mind the phonetic alphabet. (Following the above example, the transmission should become:

    "Charlie Foxtrot Charlie Papa Sierra, Charlie Foxtrot Charlie Papa Sierra, this is Redwood Meadows Fire Department on Provincial, over.")

    The regular rules of communications apply, in that the call sign of the station you are calling may be repeated up to three times in a single transmission; the generally accepted norm on the Provincial Ambulance channel seems to be two. As mentioned above, we should identify ourselves as "Redwood Meadows Fire Department" and not "50 Emergency" or "50 Bush Buggy" as the latter two would only serve to introduce confusion.

    (If the Air Crew initiates communications, the above transmission, with the call signs reversed, would likely be their initial transmission.)

    In any case, once communications with the helicopter have been established, the next step is to give a description of the Landing Zone, noting all hazards, obstructions, and conditions on the ground. An example following the same scenario as above follows:

    "STAR-1, STAR-1, this is Redwood Meadows Fire Department on Provincial, we have a Landing Zone set up for you on the highway, approximately one hundred meters north of the accident scene, which is one kilometer south of the Redwood Meadows Golf Course on Highway 22. We have the RCMP blocking the highway approximately one kilometer on either side of the Landing Zone. There are fences on the far edge of each ditch paralleling the highway, and there is a set of power lines also paralleling the highway on the west side, at the edge of the trees. There is a large road sign on the west side of the road approximately five hundred meters south of the Landing Zone. We have placed the Cochrane ambulance and our Suburban on either side of the Landing Zone, about two hundred meters apart, with their emergency lights on. The wind appears to be coming from the north at around five kph, over."

    The Air Flight Crew will acknowledge your transmission and ask any questions they may have regarding the Landing Zone or how to get to it. They will also relay any questions or instructions from the Air Medical Crew. Finally, once they have the Landing Zone in sight, they will inform you of that fact.

    4.5 ARRIVAL OF THE MEDIVAC HELICOPTER

    The Landing Zone Sector can now consist of solely the Landing Zone Sector Officer, who should position himself with his back to the wind and his face to the Landing Zone, making sure to stay outside the Landing Zone itself. This will help the pilot determine where the wind is (he will land his helicopter with the nose pointing directly into the wind).

    There are three sets of hand signals to be used when communicating with the pilots during landing or liftoff. To indicate "LAND HERE", the Landing Zone Officer shall extend his arms in front of him, raised at a forty-five degree angle, pointing up and into the LZ. To indicate "ABORT LANDING", he shall wave his arms back and forth over his head rapidly, palms open and facing toward the LZ. To indicate "ALL CLEAR", he shall give the pilots a simple, clear "thumbs-up" signal with one hand.

    On occasion, the pilot may elect to land somewhere other than the Landing Zone identified. This should not be construed as criticism of the judgment of those on the ground. It is often possible to identify hazards from the air that were not apparent at ground level. The pilot ultimately has absolute responsibility for the aircraft.

    Once the helicopter has landed, the co-pilot will exit the craft and stand at its rear, near the tail rotor. At that point, the Air Medical Crew will disembark and bring their equipment to the scene.

    Under NO circumstances should anyone approach the helicopter unless specifically directed to do so by the crew, and even then, NEVER proceed beyond the location of the copilot.

    Even at idle speeds, main rotors and tail rotors will produce fatal injuries.

    The Air Medical Crew will proceed with their equipment to the location of the patient and will prepare him for air transport. Depending on the condition of the patient, the Air Medical Crew may elect to remain on the ground for a short time to effect some patient care. During that time, the helicopter will likely remain at idle, and people must be kept well clear.

    When the Air Medical Crew is ready to transfer the patient to the helicopter, they will likely enlist the help of two to four members to assist them in moving the stretcher to the helicopter. They will instruct the members to assist them only until they reach the 'rotor disc' (the edge of the spinning rotor blades), and then transfer control of the patient entirely to the Air Medical Crew. At that point, the members assisting will walk away from the helicopter, leaving by the same path they followed while approaching.

    The Landing Zone must be maintained until the helicopter is well underway. (If, for some reason, the helicopter must return to the site, they will likely return directly to the Landing Zone.) Before the helicopter lifts off, care should be taken to ensure that any clean-up duties resulting from termination of patient care (i.e. straps unbuckled from a spineboard, extension cords left lying on the ground) have not become a Foreign Object Hazard.

    When the helicopter has departed the scene, and there is no intention to return to pick up additional patients, the Landing Zone Sector can be terminated.


    --jay.

  11. #11
    HarrisonJR
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Smile

    Are SOP for LZ whether it's our own or we're called to set one up is to respond with rescue squad and engine with foam capabilites. Besides using cones to mark the LZ we use the flashing lights on both trucks to help the bird find us. We will pull a line off the engine charged and ready to go in an event of a crash. Our rescue truck sort of serves as the LZ command post. A new thing that we got but haven't had a chance to try out but one time at a practice landing was a handheld GPS unit. After landing the chopper we got called out for an MVA and never got a chance to talk to the pilot about using the GPS and if it really makes a difference. Interested if anybody else uses a GPS and if you had much success with it? Generally when we will set up a LZ it won't be directly at the scene maybe a mile or less away so we also may use our rescue truck to transport the air medics to the scene. That's how we do it!

  12. #12
    *Chinaman*
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In Australia:
    Clear an a circle of 30m dia.
    When helicoper approaches ONE FF stands with his arms stretched out with his back to the wind.
    Helicopter lands facing FF. Only when pilot gives the thumbs up and the FF returns a thumbs up, does the FF apprach the heli from the FRONT (watch your head). Open passenger doors. Always stay in sight of the pilot. Do not move towards the rear rotors.
    Rest of crew stay well away andnot behind the chopper. No hoses to be taken out.



    ------------------

  13. #13
    monte
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Lots of protocol being offered that I won't restate. However there are a couple of points I would like to make. We are a very rural community north of Missoula, MT and use medivac routinely during flying weather because of the als service. Our LZs can be pavement, cow pastures, rock farms, banks of sloughs, a backyard, a frontyard: we try to land a close to the scene as manageable. If not, we transport to one of several predesignated LZs. Extra points to consider that have not been mentioned:

    1) Rely on hand signals not the radio. Be certain the pilots are comfortable, and understand your use of them. That means preincident preparation.
    2) While we try to land as close to the scene as we can, rotor wash is a big problem to patients, medics, the array of supplies laid all over the place, by standers, and vehicles. Know how far back to place the helicopter to mitigate rotor wash.
    3) We routinely use either an Astar or L3 helicopters, and they do not fly with a co-pilot. You get a pilot and 2 paramedics. Consequently, whoever marshalls the helicopter in, owns the security problem. Keep that in mind when locating the LZ. First consideration is protecting the rear rotor from Mr. or Mrs. Stupid walking into it. Maintain vigilance, particularly if they plan on doing a hot load, and the helicopter does not shut down.
    3) Although the pilot has final approval of the LZ, and may change it, if they approve of your location, manage them into it. It's yours, and has been selected with purpose, don't let the pilots push you closer to the scene to decrease walking distance for the paramedics.
    4) We are usually keen to spot overhead hazards on the approach and departure, e.g. overhead power lines, fences or trees that would interfere with the tail rotor, but we don't always remember to check the airspace on departure. The pilot has limited overhead vision, you as the marshaller has 360 degree visibility.
    5) Inline with departure and a clear aispace, let the pilot power up, but using hand signals, hold them on the ground unitl you confirm a clear airspace and clear safety circle. Then motion them out.
    6) Last keep personnel away from the margins of the safety circle. Minimize risk exposure to everyone. When the helicopter approaches and departs there should be only one person at or near the LZ. Most of the flight in and out is out of ground effect, and a power up failure means everyone within a few hundred feet are exposed to high velocity rotor parts when they break on ground contact.

    HCFR27 likes this.

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