1. #1
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    Default Helicopter Landing Zones

    Our units are responded to cover a helicopter LZ at our EMS Headquarters.
    This is a parking lot used for most air ambulance landings in our coverage area, so we do not have to set up the LZ.
    Our units are responsible for covering the LZ in case something goes wrong.There is a shopping center next door to the EMS.
    Where should we spot our apparatus?
    My Chief seems to think we should be front and center.
    Last edited by EHenderson; 10-29-2006 at 11:38 PM.

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    Out of the way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EHenderson
    Where should we spot our apparatus?
    Well away from the LZ with everyone seated and ready to move somewhere else as needed.

    You don't want to be too close to the LZ -- if something were to go wrong you'd likely end up part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Probly want to keep the engines running too
    I am a highly trained professional and can find my :: expletive deleted:: with either hand in various light conditions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EHenderson
    Our units are responded to cover a helicopter LZ at our EMS Headquarters.
    This is a parking lot used for most air ambulance landings in our coverage area, so we do not have to set up the LZ.
    Our units are responsible for covering the LZ in case something goes wrong.There is a shopping center next door to the EMS.
    Where should we spot our apparatus?
    If possible around the corner from the actual LZ. A building will stop most of the debris should there be an incident upon their landing. It will also allow you to go home after the run.
    K-9 hunt, the ultimate challange.
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    Our units are responsible for covering the LZ in case something goes wrong.

    Might want to talk to your air evac service -- they probably even offer a class.

    I think you'll find the primary expectation by them for fire units on LZ assignments is not for what might go wrong -- after all, they don't have the FD respond to the hospital to meet them when they land. Things going spontaneously bad is very, very rare. Otherwise you wouldn't want them landing anywhere near a vulnerable population like a hospital

    The reason you go to a LZ is to scout it for the helicopter and secure the area -- look for overhead wires that might be difficult to see from the air, if it's a park to clear the public back, if it's tall grass to walk it to make sure there isn't hidden hazards like a pipe sticking up from the ground, etc.

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    Yes scouting of the LZ is important. This is a common LZ where the aircraft land regularly. We always look for debris and secure the area. However, I don't think the engine company should be placed in the LZ during landing and takeoff.
    Pipes, wires, etc. are not a problem since this is a paved location.

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    I believe the question was not where to land the heli, just where to park the truck in the event it's landing.
    We don't have this problem here, at least haven't since I've been on the department. Only had the chopper land on one call we had and the pilot landed on the beach in front of our fire before we even realized he was coming.
    Gut feeling tells me that you just want to make sure that if you want to get out of Dodge, you have a clear path with no 3 (or 9) point turns. On the street if there's a lane, between the LZ and the exit of the parking lot if there's not. ALL ff's not required for clearing a path stay in the truck. Firetrucks are higher than the blade path, don't park somewhere with great overhead clearance as that's a great spot to land the heli; park where the trees are, you're not filling up possible LZ with big red truck.
    Just my $0.02

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    Post LZ's..Who sets the procedures?

    In Northern NJ, the University Hospital (Newark) establishes the guidelines for Landing Zones. Each and every municipality participates in a short class on these procedures...and run-throughs at a LZ site.

    As per NorthStar:
    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.
    • When using flares, care in their use and/or anchoring is highly recommended.
    • 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 NorthSTAR 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 objects and personal items, e.g. hats, stethoscopes.
    • No smoking within 100 feet of the aircraft.

    Contact your local EVAC service and establish SOPs and or Guidelines. They will most likely tell YOU how they want an LZ set up. You are there to ensure a secure area for landing, advise the pilot of obstructions or hazards and enable the safe transfer of patient(s) to the aircraft.
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    From the Lifestar helicopter page at Hartford Ct Hospital

    Establishing a Landing Zone

    * The landing zone should be at least 75 feet X 85 feet, relatively flat, and free of overhead obstructions.
    * Inform LIFE STAR of any obstacles near the landing zone (trees, power lines, antennas, cranes, etc.).

    * By day, a landing zone may be marked by orange cones or flares at each corner, a strobe light, or by a ground cover of contrasting color (this must be removed prior to landing).
    * At night, a single strobe light, or a road flare in each corner of the landing zone is helpful.
    * Never direct spotlights, white strobes, or flash photography toward LIFE STAR, as this will impair the crew's night vision.


    * Secure the landing zone to prevent unauthorized persons from approaching LIFE STAR.
    * Keep the landing zone clear of loose articles and hazardous debris.
    * Protect yourself and your patient from rotor downwash.
    * Keep well clear of the landing zone when LIFE STAR is approaching and taking off.
    * Wear eye protection, and, if the landing zone is very dusty, consider wetting down the area if possible.


    * Do not approach LIFE STAR unless requested by the flight crew. If you are requested to approach LIFE STAR, stay within the pilot's field of vision. (see diagrams)
    * The tail rotor is invisible when spinning - never approach the tail area.
    * Follow the directions of the flight crew when assisting near LIFE STAR.
    * Carry equipment horizontally, below your waist level - never upright or over your shoulder.
    * Always carry stretcher in a forward facing position, standing upright at all times.

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    We use 100x100 minimum (that's two lengths of hose for the distance challenged). Engine well out of the way. We'll shine spots on any obstructions (like wires) we see.

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    We and our air medical partners have taken great pains to pre-plan about a dozen landing zones throughout our county. The GPS coordinates and a description, including best approach, are on file with the chopper dispatch centers so that we can have our dispatcher call and simply say, "LZ #4, Flat Gap Elementary" and have it covered. Flight crews inspect each site annually to make sure it is still usable.

    As far as apparatus placement, the chopper crews have told us that if they're going to crash, there's nothing we can do until they hit, so we'd just as well stay clear.

    Lights vary. One of our busiest LZ's is an elementary football field. The school gave us a key to the breaker box, so we can light it up if the pilot wants. The choppers all have radio contact with a ground unit, so this type of issue can be cleared along with an LZ description before final approach.

    We use choppers a lot, as we are 60+ miles from a Level 2 trauma center.
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    Why is there so much emphasis put into these landing zone details ? Departments buying light kits and various different pieces of equipment. The pilot will land were he wants to and feels safe doing so. Im sure Im missing different aspects of each scenario, maybe due to the fact we have an airport and we send the aircraft there, wait there , we'll bring em' to you. No apparatus tied up, no big spectacle to draw in more onlookers, we also have a hospital that occasionaly has transports requiring the use of a helicopter. We are not requsted to assist in the landing there. There is no coverage when the crew lands back at their headquarters, what about elevated landing zones at the hospitals, no apparatus up there. It should be as simple as 1 individual with a radio, land somewhere in this area, these are your obstacles, do a fly over, land where you can!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianHFDLT
    Why is there so much emphasis put into these landing zone details ? Departments buying light kits and various different pieces of equipment. The pilot will land were he wants to and feels safe doing so. Im sure Im missing different aspects of each scenario, maybe due to the fact we have an airport and we send the aircraft there, wait there , we'll bring em' to you. No apparatus tied up, no big spectacle to draw in more onlookers, we also have a hospital that occasionaly has transports requiring the use of a helicopter. We are not requsted to assist in the landing there. There is no coverage when the crew lands back at their headquarters, what about elevated landing zones at the hospitals, no apparatus up there. It should be as simple as 1 individual with a radio, land somewhere in this area, these are your obstacles, do a fly over, land where you can!
    Not every community is fortunate enough to have an airport to land a bird at. I believe one of the biggest requirements for a landing zone is that it IS marked. There is more to landing a helicopter than, "Hey, over there looks good."

    You have to take into account the approach and departure path, the slope of the LZ, any debris, and most importantly, wind direction.

    And the reason the helicopter can land at their base/the hospital is that it is a marked landing zone, and the area they are going to be landing in is usually solely for that purpose. They don't have to park a bird in the middle of no where when they return to the hospital.
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    You also might want to make sure no one is pointing a flashlight,laser or camera flash unit towards the aircraft.
    In the Navy,my leading petty officer always added this to the safety briefing before we handled a helo on my destroyer:"If ANYONE flashes a picture out there,I'm going to take him and any survivors we rescue up to the anchor windlass room and lock him in with them.They can explain it better than me."

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    Two things to keep in mind. 1, they will always try and land into the wind and 2, if there is a problem, the aircraft will most likely not crash in the LZ. With that in mind, down-wind and a good distance away from the LZ is a good starting point.
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    Well, in it or upwind of it anyway. Depends on what problem develops and where. Unfortunately, the very nature of a helicopter doesn't make them very predicable when something isn't working right. Thats why I like planes
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