background image






Special Operations

m. Emergency Situations


In the event of a helicopter accident in the

vicinity of the LZ, consider the following:

(a) Emergency Exits:


Doors and emergency exits are typical-

ly prominently marked. If possible, operators should
familiarize ground responders with the door system
on their helicopter in preparation for an emergency


In the event of an accident during the LZ

operation, be cautious of hazards such as sharp and
jagged metal, plastic windows, glass, any rotating
components, such as the rotors, and fire sources, such
as the fuel tank(s) and the engine.

(b) Fire Suppression:

Helicopters used in HEMS operations are usually
powered by turboshaft engines, which use jet fuel.
Civil HEMS aircraft typically carry between 50 and
250 gallons of fuel, depending upon the size of the
helicopter, and planned flight duration, and the fuel
remaining after flying to the scene. Use water to
control heat and use foam over fuel to keep vapors
from ignition sources.



4. Emergency Medical Service (EMS)

Multiple Helicopter Operations

a. Background.

 EMS helicopter operators often

overlap other EMS operator areas. Standardized
procedures can enhance the safety of operating
multiple helicopters to landing zones (LZs) and to
hospital heliports. Communication is the key to
successful operations and in maintaining organiza-
tion between helicopters, ground units and
communication centers. EMS helicopter operators
which operate in the same areas should establish joint
operating procedures and provide them to related

b. Recommended Procedures.

1. Landing Zone Operations.

 The first heli-

copter to arrive on

scene should establish

communications with the ground unit at least 10 NMs
from the LZ to receive a LZ briefing and to provide
ground control the number of helicopters that can be
expected. An attempt should be made to contact other
helicopters on 123.025 to pass on to them pertinent
LZ information and the ground unit’s frequency.
Subsequent helicopters arriving on scene should

establish communications on 123.025 at least 10
NMs from the LZ. After establishing contact on
123.025, they should contact the ground unit for
additional information. All helicopters should
monitor 123.025 at all times.


If the landing zone is not established by

the ground unit when the first helicopter arrives,
then the first helicopter should establish altitude
and orbit location requirements for the other
arriving helicopters. Recommended altitude separa-
tion between helicopters is 500 feet (weather and
airspace permitting). Helicopters can orbit on
cardinal headings from the scene coordinates. (See
FIG 10




Upon landing in the LZ, the first

helicopter should update the other helicopters on the
LZ conditions, i.e., space, hazards and terrain.


Before initiating any helicopter move-

ment to leave the LZ, all operators should attempt to
contact other helicopters on 123.025, and state their
position and route of flight intentions for departing
the LZ.

2. Hospital Operations.

 Because many

hospitals require landing permission and have
established procedures (frequencies to monitor,
primary and secondary routes for approaches and
departures, and orbiting areas if the heliport is
occupied) pilots should always receive a briefing
from the appropriate facility (communication center,
flight following, etc.) before proceeding to the


In the event of multiple helicopters

coming into the hospital heliport, the helicopter
nearest to the heliport should contact other inbound
helicopters on 123.025 and establish intentions.
Follow the guidelines established in the LZ


To facilitate approach times, the pilot


command of the helicopter occupying the hospital
heliport should advise any other operators whether
the patient will be off loaded with the rotor blades
turning or stopped, and the approximate time to do so.


Before making any helicopter movement

to leave the hospital heliport, all operators should
attempt to contact other helicopters on 123.025 and
state their position and route of flight intentions for
departing the heliport.