View Poll Results: Does Your Department Handle Landing Zone's?

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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Landing Zone Operations

    Help....we're looking to update our SOP's regarding Landing Zone Operations. If your Department handles LZ's, any information you could provide, such as type of equipment/apparatus used on this type of call, # of personnel, area size for LZ, apparatus placement, etc...

    Any help would be appreciated.

    On another Note....and Webteam, if you're reading this maybe you can help. In Firehouse Mag a few years ago, someone from the Maryland State Police Aviation Division wrote an article regarding Landing Zone Operations. If you could provide a link to the article or tell me where to get it, I'd appreciate it. Thank you!
    Last edited by Bulldoggy; 08-26-2002 at 09:01 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Hey Bulldog, a good place to look is whatever aero-med service you are using. We have 3 locally, but they all are pretty much the same as far as requirements. We send one full engine co. We have a few predesignated lz's in town, all already shot with gps. Our dispatch center has the coordinates, and send them to the lz we designate. Usually we set up at least 100'x100', with the corners marked with traffic cones. Some helo's look for an extra cone pointing in the direction of the wind. We have a designated freq to communicate on, so our dispatch relays that to the helo dispatcher, and we wait to hear from them. We don't pull handlines, but we are packed and waiting. Just remember: Anything not tied down will be airborn!! Keep the spectators back, and absolutely positively no flares!! If you want to email me through my profile, I'll fax you our sop for it.

  3. #3
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    Our LZ ops are similar to Quint1drivers.

    We have 13 designated LZ's in Marlborough. 12 of them are listed in the book, the 13th is Marlborough Airport (9B1). Whenever we ned to use the airport, Fire Alarm contacts them and they open the gates for us for access to the aircraft operating area.

    The aeromedical transport services in the New England area share the same information for LZ's and hazards (why reinvent the wheel?)

    We have a hospital in town, so most of our LZ coverage is for Marlborough Hospital.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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  4. #4
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    We are rural and so LZs come in all sizes and shapes. We do the LZ management and with night operations the pilots have to have a ground contact they can rely on. In agreement with the pilots we will look for an LZ as close to the scene as possible noting overhead hazards and ground suitable for a landing (flat or within 10% slope, no tall grass, no other garbage). MVAs, we use the highway unless overhead wires restrict us. Anytime we use a roadway we commit vehicles and/or personnel to shut down all possible access. Most helicopter ambulances are advanced enough to pack a payload and can power out or in to most locations unless the wind is restrictive, then we have to be certain we have an approach path and get away path. We train annually with the air crew and helicopter, and they offer a period where anyone in the department can ride along to better acquaint themselves with the operations. We rely on the helicopter alot, since critical patients are in the hands of paramedics within 15-18 minutes versus 35-45 minutes with ground based transportation. We operate a quick response ambulance with EMTi and b, and they are usually tied up with patient care, so that leaves aircraft management to the fire department that also responds with the ambulance.
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  5. #5
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    These are the guidelines set up by NorthStar, Northern Shock Trauma Air Rescue, Air Medical Program of University Hospital, New Jersey.
    LZ guidelines are set up by them...not the fire department. You may want to contact your air program representative for their advice.


    Landing Zone Safety Rules

    These Landing Zone Safety Rules have been set up to protect the patient, bystanders, ground crew and helicopter crew.

    The LZ should be a minimum of 110 feet by 110 feet, level, firm, dry and free of debris.
    Secure the perimeter from pedestrians or vehicles.
    Keep personnel and fire apparatus 100 feet from perimeter of LZ.
    Mark the corners of the LZ with bright colored cones, lights or public safety vehicles. FLARES CAN START GRASS FIRES.
    NEVER SHINE LIGHTS at NorthSTAR, they may blind the pilots.
    If the pilots feel the LZ you selected is unsuitable, an alternate should be selected.
    Shield your eyes or wear safety glasses while NorthSTAR lands or takes-off.
    DO NOT APPROACH NorhtSTAR while the blades are moving.
    ALWAYS APPROACH NorthSTAR from the side, in full view of the crew and then only with the escort of a crew member.
    NEVER APPROACH NorthSTAR from the BACK, approach from the side with caution.
    Keep arms and IV's at or below shoulder height.
    Secure all loose abojects and personal items, e.g. hats, stethoscopes.
    No smoking within 100 feet of the aircraft.

    If you have questions, feel free to contact them via E-mail at:

    hobentr@umdnj.edu
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  6. #6
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    Our flights are usually done by HealthNet out of West Va. They like a 75x75 LZ in the day and 100x100 at night. (Their chopper is smaller than some.) A hose line they'll take or leave; they point out that if it crashes with enough fuel on board for the return trip, the fire will be too intense for us to save them anyway.

    HealthNet has a designated contact for each agency in their response area. That person comes down once a year or so to check out their pre-chosen LZ's to make sure they're still OK, and to scout out new ones. We have them numbered and the coordinates recorded at HealthNet so that our dispatcher just has to call them and tell them to send the big blue ceiling fan to number so-and-so. We also carry a GPS in our rescue truck if we choose to do a scene flight.

  7. #7
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    Default Thanks!

    Thanks for the responses Brothers! I see where Northstar holds apparatus 100 feet from the LZ, which is the same distance I found when searching Department SOP's on the Firehouse.Com website. Is it safe to say that 100 feet is the magic number for distance from the LZ? Just making sure all my bases are covered.
    FTM-PTB-EGH-RFB-KTF

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  8. #8
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    Default LZ's

    100'x100' is pretty standard for LZ size. However, there's one other thing to think of: approach routes to the LZ. The pilots I've spoke with asked that we think of the LZ as being at the bottom of an upside down pyramid and to keep that pyramid clear. Helicopters fly much better at an angle than straight up and down. So, they want to be able to land & take-off coming in at a 45 degree angle or so. So, besides picking a big square on the ground, try to pick a place that doesn't have any obstructions that would block the bird from angling in: no trees, wires, light poles, etc. They also would like to take off & land while flying into the wind.
    Proud to be honored with IACOJ membership. Blessed by TWO meals cooked by Cheffie - a true culinary goddess. Expressing my own views, not my organization's.

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    I may have created some confusion, we, the fire department do not set the standard of what an LZ is, the pilots and helicopter company do. We do however manage it on the ground. The pilot can refuse it, but that spot is mine until the pilot sits on it. When setting up fixed LZs the approach-departure requirements should always be met, but if you are remote, and the patient critical it is good to find out what the pilots are going to do. We operate with an Astar, which has plenty of payload, and particularly during night ops. they favor a steep approach to the LZ and when departing to power out for 100 feet before departure. This minimizes risk by limiting area covered on a horizontal and decending or acending flight path. Smaller powered helicopters like the Bell L3 need more room to take advantage of lift, etc. If you have 100 clear of obstructions, it's a good standard, but if not, and the pilot is savy and confident, they will operate with less (know what these standards are as well). It is also good to have established voice commands that cut down on verbage and interpretations; Abort to stop the landing or take-off pattern, directions in the 24 hour clock or cardinal directions, hand signals for when the radios don't work.
    O'Cionaoit: teine geinim

  10. #10
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    Our SOP's are set by the county who runs the Trauma Hawk helicopter. LZ's must be 100'x100', marked with cones(weighted). At night we put flashlights inside the cones so that they 'glow' but do not blind the pilots. One person is the landing marshal and uses pre designated hand signals to bring in the Hawk. One engine is assigned to the LZ, an hose line is supposed to be pulled and the area is cleared of all persons and debris. One thing I've learned is that the pilots pretty much land where ever and don't realy care about the cones or the marshal, the only thing we realy have to do is make sure civilans run through the LZ.

  11. #11
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    We have two Med-evac Helicopter services in this area. One used the Sikorsky SK-76S helicopter which requires a 100' x 100' landing zone and some type of indicator of the upwind direction on the ground if possible. The other uses a different helicopter (Mesherschmit perhaps??) that is smaller and loads in the rear. They require a 75' x 75' landing zone. They cover for each other from time to time, so we simply set up the 100' x 100' landing zone.

    As was suggested before, your best resource is the company(s) you deal with. Both in this area provide training free of charge to fire departments on how to establish landing zones. They usually include this with training to ride-a-long as an observer which improves attendance to these training sessions. Give your a call and I am sure they will be happy to do the same for you.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

  12. #12
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    Pretty much the same here.............the S-76 ship is good sized and the more room they have the better, plus they don't like to takeoff vert. the like to have some room so they can climb out of the LZ (takes more power and puts more strain on the engine and transmission to climb Vert. then to climb while moving forward).




    Originally posted by NJFFS_A16
    These are the guidelines set up by Insert "SOUTHSTAR" Here LZ guidelines are set up by them...not the fire department. You may want to contact your air program representative for their advice.


    Landing Zone Safety Rules

    These Landing Zone Safety Rules have been set up to protect the patient, bystanders, ground crew and helicopter crew.

    The LZ should be a minimum of 110 feet by 110 feet, level, firm, dry and free of debris.
    Secure the perimeter from pedestrians or vehicles.
    Keep personnel and fire apparatus 100 feet from perimeter of LZ.
    Mark the corners of the LZ with bright colored cones, lights or public safety vehicles. FLARES CAN START GRASS FIRES.
    NEVER SHINE LIGHTS at "SouthStar", they may blind the pilots.
    If the pilots feel the LZ you selected is unsuitable, an alternate should be selected.
    Shield your eyes or wear safety glasses while "SouthStar" lands or takes-off.
    DO NOT APPROACH SouthStar while the blades are moving.
    ALWAYS APPROACH SouthStar from the side, in full view of the crew and then only with the escort of a crew member.
    NEVER APPROACH SouthStar from the BACK, approach from the side with caution.
    Keep arms and IV's at or below shoulder height.
    Secure all loose abojects and personal items, e.g. hats, stethoscopes.
    No smoking within 100 feet of the aircraft.





    Robert B.
    Haddon Fire Company #1

  13. #13
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    we have Critical Air, Statair, Careflight that can come down into our area. Mostly it's Critical Air since their base is 10 miles up the road. We have a Landing Zone Kit with strobe lights to make the corners of the LZ. We've had both Critical Air and Statair come out and do classes with us. Somehow when the helicopter is called I am never on scene. Just my luck I guess.
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  14. #14
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    If you contact the aeromedical transport service that runs your area, they should give you all the specifics that you need. They should be able to give you what they want set up, equipment they want there and what information they need to know about the landing zone.

    Attached below is the web address of the helicopter that provides most of the service were I run and they even do landing zone classes at fire departments and rescue squads in their coverage area.

    http://www.med.virginia.edu/medcntr/...s.html#lz-info

    Hope this helps.

  15. #15
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    Our dept. sends usually sends the first due engine(rotated between 3 engine co's. yearly) and the borough's pumper/ tanker to set up the l.z.. The engine company members set up an area of approximately 100'x 100' using flares, or a l.z. kit. We made our own using weighted day-glo orange bags with lime reflective trim or if it's a night run, we use small blue stobe lights to mark the corners of the landing zone. Then a line is pulled and manned by responders in full turnouts including scba. The ranking line officer on the call assumes command and establishes communication with the incoming aircraft. Then all information regarding location and hazards are relayed to the pilot. Our area is served by 4 different aero-medical services and so far, they all seem comfortable with this set up.

  16. #16
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    Our dept. sends usually sends the first due engine(rotated between 3 engine co's. yearly) and the borough's pumper/ tanker to set up the l.z.. The engine company members set up an area of approximately 100'x 100' using flares, or a l.z. kit. We made our own using weighted day-glo orange bags with lime reflective trim or if it's a night run, we use small blue stobe lights to mark the corners of the landing zone. Then a line is pulled and manned by responders in full turnouts including scba. The ranking line officer on the call assumes command and establishes communication with the incoming aircraft. Then all information regarding location and hazards are relayed to the pilot. Our area is served by 4 different aero-medical services and so far, they all seem comfortable with this set up.

  17. #17
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    Similar in our area. However we have a new problem.
    Our ambulace service has recently moved and has a parking lot that meets the requirements of the helicopter service but unfortunatly the city council has concerns about a landing zone in a residential neighborhood, as opposed to a large grass field next to a school. Was wondering if anyone else landed in residential areas.

    I also would like to know of links to statistics on helicopter crashes. And if anyone knows of FAA regulations as they pertain to landing zones.

    Thanks

  18. #18
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    I work for AirEvac of Tulsa. We fly a Sikorsky S-76 C+...that's the Caddy of helicopter EMS right now, BTW.

    The other service in Tulsa (Tulsa LifeFlight) flies a BK-117.

    Yes, helicopters can land and take off vertically, but our pilots prefer to approach at an angle so they can see they're coming down on.

    In a nutshell, we're about the same as everyone else....just give us 100' by 100' to land on, remember obstructions on approach that are outside the LZ and have clear ground-to-air communications.

    As others have said, contact the flight service that serves your area--they'll have plenty of information on what they want you to do.

    As for my FD...no official policy yet, but one engine company to mitigate hazards and additional vehicles if the roadway needs to be blocked, etc.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

  19. #19
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    We utilize Mercy Flight of Western NY for our aeromedical service. I used to volunteer with them on the flight crew until they got flight nurses. Many of the pilots were dustoff or Hughey pilots during the Vietnam war and all are excellent at thier job. We made up stands for our flares during night ops. The stand is a 1.5ft stainless steel base with a peice of tubing welded to the center of it that will accept the flare. The pilots prefer flares over strobes because it is a steady light source, and if the ligt is interupted for any reason they know that something came between them and the flare.

    Below I have pasted the landing zone requirements directly from Mercy Flights Web page.
    http://www.mercyflight.org/
    Landing Zone Requirements
    Safety First


    Setting Up a Safe Landing Site
    A key component in safely transporting patients by helicopter is establishing
    a safe landing site. We request that the following guidelines be used:

    Level area: 100 X 100 feet Clear of Obstructions surrounding the site (wires, trees, vehicles, trash and debris)

    Surfaces: Hard packed snow surfaces are better than loose snow. The helicopter is capable of blowing a few inches of snow away which may cause "White Outs". Plowed in winter is preferable, not close to snow banks, no dry sandy areas, gravel or salt, and not in muddy areas.

    Mark the corners with red, blue, green or yellow marking devices that are safe (60 ft. X60 ft.). Do NOT use Flares if there is a fire hazard.

    DO NOT USE WHITE LIGHTS. Headlights and camera flashes or lights will blind the pilot at night.

    Mark the wind direction with a single marking device approximately 15 feet from the landing site on the side the wind is coming from.











    Approach the aircraft only after signaled to do so by the crew. For your personal safety, approach only in the areas designated above.





    It is best not to land Mercy Flight on or close to a hill, incline or snow bank.

    GROUND SAFETY RULES

    Assign personnel for Ground Contact and Tail Rotor Guard

    Keep personnel back 100 ft. and watch the perimeters of the Landing Site.

    Protect yourself and the patient from rotor wash (flying debris).

    Wear eye protection

    DO NOT approach the aircraft for any reason until you are instructed to do so by Mercy Flight Personnel.

    NEVER approach from the Rear of any helicopter.

    DO NOT assist with the doors of the helicopter unless you have been specifically trained to do so.

    NO SMOKING anywhere near the aircraft.

    NO running or vehicular motion in or near the landing site.

    Tail Rotor Guard should move into position for patient loading or unloading only after directed to do so by the flight crew.



    LANDING SITE COMMUNICATIONS

    Mercy Flight 1, 2 and 5 have the capability of utilizing any Fire, EMS, or Law Enforcement Agency frequency on Low Band VHF, High Band VHF or UHF. (25 Mhz - 500Mhz).

    Portable radios should be held up to the ear if near the Landing Site.

    Warn the Pilot about obstructions near the Landing Site.

    Ground Contact is to notify the Pilot whether the Landing Site is secure or not.
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

  20. #20
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    This is from Palmetto-Richland Memorial Hospital's Careforce helicopter


    Helicopter Landing Requirements


    100 ft. x 100 ft. area free of trees, wires, vehicles and loose debris

    Wet down area if dusty (if possible)

    Avoid slopes

    Secure marking devices to the ground (flashlights, strobes, flares)

    For night landings, keep emergency rooftop lights on. Use spotlight to identify landing site

    Stay upwind of hazardous materials (i.e., gasoline and chemical spills)



    Loading Safety Precautions

    Keep vehicles, personnel and bystanders back at least 200 feet

    Protect patient from blowing debris and rotor wash

    Secure patient's clothing and blankets

    Do not approach helicopter unless signaled to do so by a crew member

    Approach helicopter from the front only. Stay clear of tail rotor

    No running and no smoking within 100 feet of the helicopter

    Do not lift anything above your head, such as IV poles

    Assist patient loading only if asked

    Follow flight crew's instructions at all times




    In our area we also have Lifereach Helicopter from providence Hospital. They follow the same standards in regards to LZs

    The majority of the time we used predesignated LZ's ( We have around 30 spread strategically throughout the county) however from time to time, if the situation allows, we will land the helicopter on scene.

  21. #21
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    Default LZ Ops

    If you check with the local aeromed service, or any other helicopter service, they should have a set of guidelines for emergency services. The one I'm most familiar with is almost identical to what Lewiston2Capt displayed. Our local service, Lifestar, flies a BK117. They require a minimum 60' x 60' LZ. We're required to warn them of hazards (powerlines, trees, towers, hazmat, etc). We may also be required to cover a landing of "Trooper 1" the state police Jet Ranger. They require 75'x75' during day and 100'x100' at night. Our landing zone marker is a simple ground strobe run off a battery pack. It's flat, about 3" tall, with a single amber strobe to mark the LZ. Our policy is to stage an engine, set up for foam operations by hoseline or master stream, about 100' outside that LZ. All vehicles, people, etc clear from the LZ, emergency lights and spot lights not to be directed on the LZ at night, as it affects the pilot's vision. If operating on the interstate highway, we close both directions of travel (the state police hate it when we do that...) We also assign a crew to assist the helicopter crew as needed with transfering the patient to the helicopter as directed by the chopper crew. Lifestar, here in CT, runs a safety program upon request. Check with the local service and see if they have a similar program. Hope this helps out.

    Mike Jozwik
    Captain
    Farmington Vol. Fire Department
    The views expressed in this posting are my own and are not reflective of my department or its members.

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