Thread: Landing Zones

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    Default Landing Zones

    Okay, you have a bad wreck, you know youare going to have to land a helicopter to fly someone out. The medics and firefighters have already agreed on a landing zone. Why is it that law enforcement on the scene always has a different opinion of where to set up the LZ. And they want it set up somewhere far away from the scene.

    We ran into this problem this morning. We had a spot picked out for the LZ but the deputies on the scene refused to let us land the bird there because "there was too much traffic". Isn't traffic control what they are supposed to be doing anyway? So we had to load the patient and drive over a mile to meet the helicopter.

    Glad that I was able to vent a little and get that out of my system. Your opinions are appreciated.
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    Its not up to them is it? Not around here we land where we want, but most of the time the two years I been on we havent had to land the bird on the road its usually a field. Isnt it up to the fire department? I think if it happened around here we would shut the road down anyways, The police around here usually dont do any traffic control, we try not to do any traffic control around here but if its needed well do it, or if its bad enough shut it down, were not afraid to do that, With the cars out of the way, there shouldnt be any reason why you couldnt land there unless there are electric lines overhead. ok enough of my mubbling to put it simple you should be able to land where you want and if its applicable.
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    To be honest, I am not really sure who "organizes" our LZ's, but I do know the cops chase out any wayward cars to make room on the highway, because if we need to do an airlift, then its REAL BAD, and the road is closed to all traffic anyhow.

    Maybe we have been lucky so far, because when the Wet Stuff Hits the Fan, all agencies have pulled together and worked well in the same sand box.
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    Thanks for the input guys. Around here it is "supposed" to be up to the EMS crew on the scene, but it usually falls on the fire department. That's not too big of a problem, because the fire department is pretty good about getting an LZ that is close and with easy access. But today, the problem we ran into was that we wanted to have them set down right there on the highway, and it would have feasible, but the law enforcement did not want to have to get the cars to move and block traffic. The wreck took up both lanes of the highway anyway, so there was no traffic near the scene. All they had to do was to back some of the cars up in either direction, but they wouldn't. When you have fire department doing traffic control and law enforcement standing around with their thumbs up their butts because they don't want to help, you kinda have a problem.

    Thanks again for the input.
    I believe there is a hero in all of us.

    If life is a waste time and time is a waste of life, let's all get wasted and have the time of our life!

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    in our region it is all about the FD............LEO's never mess with our LZ's.
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    Last time we landed the bird (approximately 2 weeks ago), the FD was nominally in charge. We have all the pre-planned LZs and the GPS equipment to land em wherever.

    In my limited experience, usually if we're landing a bird on the interstate, the roadway is usually blocked by the accident/emergency vehicles anyway. But, if we decide to close the high way for that purpose, we've never had any problems w/ PSP.

    Our main problem w/ the police is they seem to always want us to do traffic control. That's not our job, that's the responsibility of the police. We had a tractor trailer ablaze and the police threatened to arrest my father and the rest of the firefighters because they told the officer that we weren't moving the tractor trailer off the highway to put it out, and that they'd have to deal w/ the traffic. It was an officer just outta the academy, so maybe that explains it?

    Oh well.
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    In my area, we coordinate the FD and EMS as to where the LZ is going to be. Unless the patient's in the rig and the helicopter's still got 10 minutes or so to arrive, we do it as close to the scene as possible. However, the FD is responsible for actually setting it up.

    In 9 years of working both sides of the FD/EMS fence, I've only had one instance like what you're describing. After a short discussion about who was responsible for the care and transport of the patient and an offer to trade jobs for the time it took to change and set up a new LZ and transport the patient there, the issue was resolved. A call from my supervisor to the cop's supervisor to clear up any loose threads ensured we wouldn't have any problems in the future.

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    We use pre-planned LZ's, the patient is transported to the LZ by ambulance. Our LZ's are all off of the highway. (Softball fields, parking areas, large church lawns, etc.)
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    Down here with three seperate services (Fire, Police, Ambulance) the organisation can be shown as follows at an MVA

    Fire.
    Scene Safety
    Fire Prevention
    Initial First Aid
    Rescue
    Clean up

    Ambulance.
    Scene Safety
    Patients health
    Evacuation

    Police.
    Scene Safety
    Investigation

    Works Like this.

    We are BOSS of the scene where a rescue is to be done. If we want the road closed, we close it. If the Police are present in enough numbers they get traffic control FIRST, they can investigate later.

    Ambulance tell us about the patients condition(s) and work with us to extricate/treat.

    If Ambulance or us make the call that we will need a Evac Heli, and the closest landing spot will close the road, then THATS THE WAY IT IS.

    Get your Chief to have a word to those plonker deputies about the subject. Point out "What if it was a member of your family?" Come to an arrangement and a clear understanding about priorities.

    eg. "Which is more important"
    1. Mrs Smith gets her kiddies to school on time.
    2. The patient lives."

    Kind of simple really.
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    Default Re: Landing Zones

    Originally posted by misfirefly34522
    ....the deputies on the scene refused to let us land the bird there because "there was too much traffic".
    These deputies need to get their priorities straight. Life, and the efforts to save an individual's life...certainly takes priority to the inconvenience caused by SHUTTING DOWN THE HIGHWAY.

    Traffic heavy? Close the road for the duration of the medivac efforts.
    It's very simple...done by EMS, Fire and Law Enforcement all over the world.

    We also have predetermined LZ's.....fields and parking lots. However...if time is of the essence, we will close the highway and land the bird...at the scene. This is a no brainer.
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    We have not had an issue. We have standard LZ's that we use whenever possible, but we also use the highway when necessary. I've never had an issue with too much traffic. I have had the helo land before we could close down the other lane of traffic though. I'm sure the drivers coming the other direction got a surprise.

    Since we are on the topic, what do you do for a LZ. We check the area for hazards and advise the helo, clear traffic as necessary and provide manpower to transport the patient from the ambulance to the helo. The thing that we do that I don't understand is setting and manning the deck gun. That seems to be more show than anything else, but it's the county SOP.

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    Landing zones: depending on the size of the helo (never call it a chopper, it ****es the pilots off when you call their aircraft that), the minimum LZ dimensions are 60' by 60', the preference is 100' by 100'.

    Our predesignated LZ's were set up with the cooperation of New England Life Flight, by the helo drivers themselves, seeing that they are the ones that have to bring those puppies in and we are the ones who have to deal with the sitauition should a problem arise.

    We have shut down Interstates 495 and 290 to land medevac helos. In the times I have had the highway shut down, I have had only one run in with a state trooper about closing the road down. He was a "newbie" and told me he couldn't shut down the highway. I told him that he would be responsible if the patient died because he was more concerned about John Q. Public getting the family to the beach before 10:00 AM.

    The highway was shut down...
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    In my area we generally decide where the medivac will land. I say generally because some times our dispatch will change things, but this is an extreemly rare occurance.
    Having flown with our local medivac service, Mercy Flight, I know that many of the pilots for that service are former Vietnam medivac pilots, and can land just about anywhere. The prefered landing zone is 100' x 100' with no wires up to 200 ft from the center. I have also seen the helo land on a 2 lane RR overpass.
    In my FD we do have some predesignated LZs but also have the authority to call for a LZ to be set up closer to the incident should the patients condition dictate.
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    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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    It's completely our call around here. It's OUR scene, not LEs, at least while there is patient care/haz-mat/etc. We've shut down the freeway/highways more than a couple times. Our troopers/deputies/officers are all great about assisting us with whatever we need. The troopers can get a bit anxious about length of time the road will be down, but that is their job!!!
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    Not to put to fine a point on this but We as firefighters and medics suggest LZs and prepare them the real decision on Lzs is up to the pilot and I have seen them move the LZ if they were not happy.

    Now on the LE/FD/EMS side of the deal, I can tell you when I am in charge of getting an LZ ready that LEOs can kiss my tail feathers if they do not like my LZ placement because I always have two 40,000 pound portable road blocks at an LZ and I have no problem using them. Luckly we don't have problems with LEOs about that very offten but it would be nice at all the other MVAs to get them to do a little traffic control.

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    We have a couple pre-set LZ's that we use for calls other then MVC's. The flight crews have requested we set up as close as possible to an MVC, as they like to get a look at the cars involved. Gives them a better idea of the mechanism of injury(s) to the patient(s).

    We dont have any problems with PD. Its state law in Florida that the senior FD officer on scene is in charge.

    Dave

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