Rhodell Volunteer Fire Department available landing zones for Healthnet, or other EVAC units in our district:
Old ball field, Lego WV Coordinates:
Latitude N 37.37.959 Longitude W 81.14.353
Old ball field, Helen, WV Coordinates:
Latitude N 37.38.38 Longitude W 81.89
Abandoned mine site, Riffes Branch East Gulf, WV Coordinates:
Latitude N 37.38.456 Longitude W 81.17.208
Mine site, Tommy Creek, Rhodell, WV Coordinates:
Latitude N 37.35.564 Longitude W 81.15.674
Top active slate dump, East Gulf, WV Coordinates:
Latitude N 37.37.129 Longitude W 81.16.532
Rhodell VFD SOG
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.
A. This guideline applies to the Rhodell Volunteer Fire Department.
B. It is the intent of this guideline to ensure compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Standard terminology 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 made through Command to EOC.
IV. Fire Resource Responsibilities:
A. Once EOC 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 (100’ X 100’),
2. Notify EOC 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 100’ 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 takeoff and landing of the aircraft, 1 hose line is 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 100’ x 100’ 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, 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.
A. No members will enter the 100’ x 100’ 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 on position until directed by pilot to turn off. 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.
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 LZ fire command. All other units shall stand-by, monitoring their radios.
A. All fire department members 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.
J. Addendum from Health Net
Selection of the preferred landing site is one of the most important components of safe helicopter operations. A site that is too small, filled with debris or obstructed by trees or wires is a recipe for disaster. Careful checks of a site can help speed patient transport by reducing the likelihood of a change in the Landing Zone (LZ) location.
HealthNet requires a minimum of 60' x 60' relatively flat area for daytime operations. The area must be clear of power lines and overhanging trees. The pilot should be informed of obstacles higher than knee level, such as fence posts, before the aircraft is seen by the ground crew. It is essential that you report any high tension power lines within a one-mile radius of the desired landing area.
The Selection: Nighttime
For nighttime operations, you must secure an area at least 100' x 100'. As in daytime operations, the area must be clear of obstructions and debris. It is important to leave all emergency lights on to better mark the area. When the helicopter is near touchdown, these lights, as well as all headlights, should be turned off to preserve the pilot's night vision.
The landing area should be marked with battery-powered lights arranged in a triangle or square. Alternately, low-beam headlights can be crossed to designate the desired landing area. Please remember to never shine spotlights or flashlights directly at the aircraft. It is also important that the landing zone team prevent flash photography or television cameras from being directed at the aircraft or crew.
The Landing Zone Team: Roles and Responsibilities
The LZ Safety Team holds ultimate responsibility for ground operations before the aircraft arrives. It should consist of two experienced people. Their job is to identify and secure the site, provide information on the landing zone to MedCom or the aircraft and to ensure that all remains safe in the area.
Aircraft On Approach!
Prior to the arrival of the aircraft, the LZ should be checked for debris, and nonessential personnel should be kept 100 feet back from the outer areas of the landing zone. It is preferred that one person be assigned to secure the front of the site while another secures the back.
The LZ Safety Team should observe the area and prevent running, smoking or the loss of hats or loose objects. At the same time the ground team should be protected. Secure clothing and eye and hearing protection are recommended. One of the team members should stand with the wind at his or her back to inform the pilot of the wind direction. In most instances the aircraft will land into the wind.
Before making final approach into an LZ, the pilot will often circle the area to observe the site. In fact, this is often done several times. It may appear as if the aircraft is leaving the area. This is not the case; the pilot is merely flying to assess the site and prepare for approach.
During landing, the LZ Safety Team must ensure that all remains safe on the ground. It is important that you constantly look at the surrounding area and not fixate on the aircraft. Things change at LZ sites. It is the responsibility of the LZ Safety Team to recognize and react to these changes. During final approach, remember to protect the patient, secure all loose equipment and protect your eyes.
Aircraft On The Ground
When the aircraft has landed, the flight team will exit the aircraft and assess the area. They will then go to the patient's side. No one should approach the aircraft. During this time, the LZ Safety Team must assure that everyone is kept 100' back from the site. During most scene responses, the rotor blades and engines will continue to run. It is essential that no items be thrown or left unsecure in the area of the LZ.
Loading and Departure
When the patient is ready for transport, the flight team will need assistance loading. Usually, two additional people are required. Anyone assisting must always follow the directions of the flight team. Remember to always approach the aircraft from the front, within full view of the pilot. You should never look at the helicopter from the rear. While loading, no one should go behind the rear skid of the aircraft.
At times the helicopter will land on an uneven surface. If this is the case, you should always approach the aircraft from downhill as the blades are closer to the uphill side. When walking toward the aircraft carry nothing higher than your head. The rotor blades can flex downward during wind gusts and could cause injuries to the ground team. You must respect the helicopter.
Once the patient is loaded, the flight team will operate the aircraft doors. The doors are susceptible to damage, and the aircraft cannot lift off if damage has occurred. During departure the LZ Safety Team should remain alert and radio the aircraft of any problems noted. The LZ should be kept clear until the aircraft is out of sight. The LZ radio frequency should be left open for 3-5 minutes in the unlikely event that the helicopter would need to return to the site.