Landing Zone Safety
How to Select a Landing Zone:
Community helipads, like this one in Adrian, Mo., are a great resource and enhance the safety of the patient, aircrew, and ground crews.
The LZ should be a flat, firm area of 100 ft. X 100 ft. A larger area should be used during windy conditions or at LZs with tall hazards on 2 or more sides. The site should be clear of people, vehicles, obstructions and debris. The LZ coordinator should assume command of the LZ. The LZ coordinator is responsible for keeping bystanders away from the aircraft, especially the tail rotor. All people involved with hot loading (rotors turning) of helicopters must observe safety rules.
Radio contact between the pilot and the LZ coordinator should be established, if possible. LZ Coordinator should describe wind direction and speed as well as any hazards near the LZ, such as power lines, light poles, trees, street signs, and any other obstacles within 1/4 mile of the landing zone.
The LZ coordinator should stand with his/her back to the wind and arms pointing to the center of the LZ. The LZ coordinator should turn his back and move quickly out of the area once the aircraft is on final approach. The waving of arms overhead indicates the LZ is unsafe.
Scenes are easily identified by strobe lights on emergency vehicles at night. Battery-powered strobe lights can be used to indicate the LZ. Alternately, the LZ may be outlined with four to five vehicles with headlights on low beam. If unavailable, use flashlights. Flares should not be used, as they present a fire hazard. Bright lights pointed at the pilot can cause temporary blindness.
Helicopter Safety Rules:
STAY AWAY from the tail rotor
NEVER approach aircraft without pilot direction
ALWAYS follow flight crew safety instructions
ALWAYS approach and depart the aircraft in the line of sight of the pilots, even if the aircraft is shut down
NO smoking within 100 feet
NO running within 100 feet