Fixed Wing Safety, Lifelink III

At Life Link III, we are committed to the safety of our patients, crew members, colleagues and the community. Please assist us by reviewing the information on selecting and securing a safe landing zone and working safely around the aircraft.

We provide landing zone safety videos for both on-scene patient transports and for those at hospital helipads. Watch and learn more about procedures and protocols to coordinate and prepare for a safe landing zone.

Landing Zone Safety

  • Minimum dimensions 100'x100', with approach and departure paths clear of wires, trees, antennas and loose debris
  • Landing surface should be flat and clear of people, vehicles, brush, fences, etc.
  • Landing direction should be into the wind
  • Approach the helicopter only when escorted by a crew member; approach and depart the aircraft from the front/sides only, in view of the pilot
  • Illuminate the landing zone at night by marking the 4 corners with lights; place a fifth light on the side of the landing zone from which the wind is blowing; keep high beam lights off; do not point search lights or flashlights at the helicopter

Download the Landing Zone Safety Poster

Rotor Wing Safety

Landing Zone Selection & Preparation

  • Size: 100 feet x 100 feet
  • Slope & Surface: Firm and level, free of debris and obstructions on the ground (small trees, posts, signs, etc.)
  • Surroundings: Approach and departure paths clear of wires, trees, antennas, poles, etc.
  • Night: Mark the corners of the LZ with low beam vehicle lights, rotating beacons, or secure battery-operated lighting. AVOID shining light directly at the aircraft as this will interfere with crew vision
  • Day: Mark the four corners of the site with highly visible objects
  • Patient should be at least 100 feet from the area
  • Emergency personnel keep back 100 feet and spectators keep back 200 feet

Ground Safety

  • Always use hearing and eye protection on and around the LZ
  • Restrict access to the LZ and helicopter
  • DO NOT approach the helicopter unless escorted by a crew member
  • Approach ONLY from the sides or front of the helicopter, within view of the pilot
  • Assign one person to protect the tail rotor. Position this person at least 50 feet behind the tail rotor
  • NEVER approach or depart at the rear of the helicopter
  • Carry equipment in a crouched position. NEVER hold anything overhead, such as IV bags, etc.
  • Secure loose items such as hats, sheets, mattresses, and supplies that could get caught in the rotor wash
  • DO NOT chase objects blown toward the helicopter
  • Protect your eyes from blowing debris. If vision becomes impaired, don't move - crouch down in place
  • Wear hearing protection
  • Allow the flight crew to direct loading and unloading of equipment and patients at all times
  • Smoking is prohibited around the helicopter

Communication with Life Link III

  • One pre-hospital care provider or hospital staff member should communicate directly with the Life Link III crew member
  • Provide radio frequency and call sign of unit coordinating the LZ
  • Provide Life Link III with information that could help identify the LZ (major landmarks/highways)
  • Provide GPS coordinates if available
  • The Life Link III pilot will make a low reconnaissance pass before landing. Be prepared to point out landing and takeoff hazards and answer the pilot's questions
  • Describe the LZ, including size, shape, slope, and surface
  • At night, communicate how the LZ is lit
  • Identify any hazardous materials (petroleum, chemicals, nuclear, etc.) on scene. Patients require decontamination before transport
  • Tell the pilot to "ABORT" or "GO AROUND" if a dangerous situation develops in the vicinity of the LZ during the helicopter approach
  • The pilot has the ultimate authority to determine whether or not to abort a landing
  • Remain at a distance of at least 100 feet during all take-off and landing

Fixed Wing Safety

Ground Safety

PC 12 Airplane Lifelink III
  • Always use high visibility garments (safety vest or other ANSI compliant garment), hearing and eye protection on the flight line
  • Before approaching the airplane, wait until the engines have completely shut down
  • When you approach, turn off your flashing lights and beacons, using only running and clearance lights
  • DO NOT enter the danger zone until contacted by the medical crew or pilot
  • NEVER back the ambulance toward the aircraft
  • If possible, turn off ambulance engine to limit exhaust fumes during patient movement
  • The ambulance should never be within 25 feet of the aircraft
  • Allow the flight crew to direct loading and unloading of equipment and patients at all times
  • Smoking is prohibited around the airplane

Loading & Unloading the Patient

  • Never walk in front of the wing or touch any instruments. Leading edges and other surfaces can be hot!
  • The Life Link III crew or pilot will operate the airplane doors
  • Follow crew and pilot directions when assisting with loading and unloading, and ask questions if directions are unclear
  • As soon as the patient is loaded, clear the area, but wait for the airplane to depart before leaving the airport. If the patient condition changes or assistance is needed, your help will be appreciated

State of the art AgustaWestland AW119Kx Helicopters

  • A modern glass cockpit configured with Garmin’s G1000H Integrated Flight Deck system
  • Dual Global Positioning Sytems (GPS)
  • Synthetic Vision Systems with Highway In The Sky (HITS) depiction
  • Helicopter Terrain Avoidance Warning System (HTAWS) with worldwide terrain and obstacle database
  • Wire strike protection system
  • Night-Vision Goggles for Pilot and Medical Crew
  • Dual, Independent Stability Augmentation Systems (SAS) to assist pilots with aircraft control
  • 24/7 In-Flight Tracking and Monitoring by the Life Link III Communication Center
  • 406 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitters
  • Satellite Phone

Landing Zone and Scene Safety Training from Life Link III