Thursday, 17 October 2019 13:45

Helispot Guideline

I.              Purpose:


A.            This document shall explain the procedures to be followed when the Department is called upon to assist in the coordination of Med-Evac Helicopter Landings. The Med-Evac Helicopter Transportation System is utilized when persons within the county require immediate transport to a trauma care facility. By utilizing this system, the patient can be transported to the trauma center within twenty minutes. This reduction in time to transport increases the chances of survival for the critically ill/injured patient.


II.           Scope


A.            This guideline applies to all emergency agencies operating within Burlington County that have a need to request a Medical Evacuation Helicopter.


B.             It is the intent of this guideline to ensure compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS).  Standard terminology, strike team components, and other resources are identified using NIMS guidelines.


III.        Requesting Authority:


A.            It shall be the responsibility of the Emergency First Responder in charge of patient care to request the Medical Evacuation helicopter.


B.             This request is to made through Command to Central Communications.


IV.         Fire Resource Responsibilities:


A.            Once Central receives a request from the Command for use of the Med-Evac helicopter, a Type I Engine Company shall be dispatched per established local response plans.  The senior member shall assume the role of Helispot Manager.


B.             The Helispot Manager will upon arrival:


1.             Locate a suitable landing site for the helicopter (110’ X 110’),

2.             Notify Central of the location selected,

3.             Place flares (day or night) or battery operated hand lanterns or other recognized marking device (at night) at all four corners of the landing site,

4.             Clear any loose objects from the site. (Papers, loose wood, debris, etc.),

5.             Assess local wind conditions and be prepared to advise the pilot when requested,

6.             Secure a perimeter around the landing site at least 110’ greater than the site,

7.             Place fire apparatus approximately 100’ from the perimeter of the landing site and stand-by. Firefighters shall remain at the ready during take off and landing of the aircraft, hose lines are not required to be stretched or placed into service,

8.             Once the aircraft has landed, civilians and firefighters shall be kept at a distance outside the landing zone,

9.             Fire apparatus shall remain at the area in a continued stand-by mode until the aircraft has loaded and is airborne.


V.            Landing Sites:


A.            The Med-Evac Helicopter service requires an area of at least 110’ x 110’ of flat, clear landing area. Members are reminded that this is the minimum dimension; larger areas should be utilized wherever possible. Particular care shall be taken to be certain that upward projecting obstructions are removed or identified to the Med-Evac helicopter pilot. Such objects include towers, wires, fencepost, signposts, etc., all of which are extremely difficult to see from the air. Landing sites should be at least 300 feet from the scene of the emergency and be located as remotely from public access as reasonably possible.


B.             Pre-designated landing zones (LZ) should be identified by all jurisdictions with the county and available in apparatus map books. Pre-designated sites have been selected based on their ability to meet the criteria for Helispots (LZ) as outlined in this document and by the Med-Evac Helicopter Service. These sites shall be utilized whenever possible. Pre-designated landing zones should be added and/or removed as they become available.


VI.         Safety:


A.            No members will enter the 110’ x 110’ landing site unless a genuine emergency exists or they are specifically directed to do so by Command.


B.             Emergency Medical Service members who request assistance from fire members shall do so through Command.


C.            If it becomes necessary to enter the helispot (LZ) and approach the aircraft, the following safety points must be followed:

1.             Gain eye contact with the pilot.

2.             Always approach the helicopter from the sides, be sure to move in a crouched position under the rotor blades.

3.             Never walk anywhere near the tail rotor.

4.             If the helicopter has landed on a slope, always approach the helicopter from the downhill side.

5.             During hours of darkness, turn all emergency lighting to the off position. Do not allow the use of flashbulbs on cameras, or the use of any other lighting in the direction of the helicopter during takeoff or landing, utilize police if necessary.

6.             Eye protection shall be in place by firefighters during takeoff and landing. Members without eye protection shall take necessary precautions.


VII.      Communications:


A.            Upon arrival at the scene, the helicopter will contact Helispot Manager on the designated channel. They may request detailed information about the helispot, which includes local wind direction. The Helispot Manager should be prepared to supply this information. Wind direction is given from the direction of travel, compass direction.


B.             Only the Helispot Manager or his designee shall communicate with the helicopter; this person shall be known as  jurisdiction/town LZ.  Example:  Southampton LZ.   All other units shall stand-by, monitoring their radios.


I.              Closing


A.          All fire departments in Burlington County shall receive a copy of this plan.  All Chief Officers shall become familiar with this plan.


B.            Any plan previously published that is in conflict with this plan is hereby rescinded.