By Chief Ira Brown, Jr
February 2, 2021

Tonight between 7:00-8:00pm February 2, 2021, we will be conducting Acadian AirMed training next to Champ Cooper School. The helicopter will also participate if operational commitments and the weather permits. DO NOT BE ALARMED!!

Landing AirMed only happens a few times a year, but we must be prepared at all times. Already for 2021 we have had to set-up an Landing Zone (LZ) twice. We had to land the helicopter seven times in 2020.

Firefighters in our area attend specialized training presented by AirMed aircrews on an annual basis. This training is vital for the safety and protection of the aircrew and those on the ground, and to get the patient to more definitive care in a rapid and safe manner. MANY boxes must be checked prior to AirMed landing at night.

Direct radio contact between the aircrew and night LZ coordinator (firefighter) is required to provide the aircrew the LZ location, the LZ size, its conditions such as type of ground cover, height of the ground cover, slope of the ground, manner of LZ lighting, and the location of all hazards such as trees, power lines, cell towers, fencing, cattle and/or horses, and any loose objects. A fire engine at the LZ is also required. A helicopter lands and takes-off just like a duck...into the wind, so providing the aircrew wind speed and direction is crucial.

We use special purpose solid amber lights to mark the LZ, and in many cases vehicle headlights are also used to further illuminate the LZ. Special purpose flashing red warning lights are used to mark hazards.

Once the ground ambulance arrives near the helicopter the patient is transferred from the ground ambulance gurney to the special helicopter gurney and moved to the helicopter for transport. Very few personnel are allowed near the helicopter.

Once the helicopter leaves the scene, the fire department responders must remain at the LZ for a minimum of five minutes with a fire engine in case the helicopter experiences an in-flight emergency and must return to the LZ.