Criteria for Helicopter Transport

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Section 1 - ADMINISTRATIVE POLICIES

1.11 CRITERIA FOR HELICOPTER TRANSPORT

  • Determine potential need for aero-medical transport of the patient.
  • Criteria that suggest the need for aero-medical transport may include, but are not limited to:
    • Need for ALS services where none are available or will be significantly delayed.
    • Mass casualty incidents.
    • Prolonged extrication
    • Insufficient numbers of EMS personnel, equipment, or vehicles to manage a multiple casualty incident or a single patient encounter.
    • Traffic conditions or geographic terrain which prohibits adequate ground access to the victim
    • Situations in which the time differential between air and ground transport may substantially impact the outcome of the patient
    • Patients who meet the "Trauma Alert" criteria as specified by the State of Florida DOH EMS regulation 64J-2 FAC and in whom the time differential between air and ground transport may substantially impact the outcome of the patient.
  • The paramedic in charge of the patient is responsible for determining if aero-medical transport is warranted. The paramedic should notify the Incident Commander of the need for aero-medical transport as soon as possible in order to minimize response and transport times. The decision to use aeromedical transport should be made through a collaborative effort based on the information provided by the paramedic caring for the patient along with other important scene factors such as time of day, location, access to the patient, etc. The incident commander has the final authority whether aeromedical transport would be utilized based on an assessment of all the compelling factors of the incident.
  • When aeromedical transport is used, the incident commander should also request for assistance from other agencies as needed to help secure the incident site and landing zone. The Communications Center will advise the priority channel on which ground to air communications will occur.
  • If initial indications are that air transport may be required, the air transport should be allowed to progress towards the scene in order to decrease response times.
  • Guidelines for Landing Zone Preparation are as follows:
    • Area should be at least 100 ft. X 100 ft. (day or night), on fairly solid ground, level, free of overhead obstructions, ground obstructions, people and any material which might fly loose. If there are obstructions, inform helicopter crew via radio. THE HELICOPTER PILOT MAKES THE FINAL DETERMINATION FOR A SAFE LANDING ZONE, (LZ).
    • Mark the four corners of the LZ with lights, flares or high visibility material.
    • The best way to mark the landing position in the LZ at night is to use two vehicles with low headlights ON, shining across the LZ with the intersection of the beams at the landing point. Turn headlights OFF after landing.
    • Do not shine lights directly at the aircraft.
    • Keep spectators at least 200 feet from the touchdown area and emergency personnel at least 100 feet away. Do not allow anyone to approach the helicopter after landing.
    • The individual in charge of the LZ should be clearly identified day or night with either an orange vest or traffic control flashlight and must be wearing eye protection. He/she should have radio contact with the helicopter and is responsible for directional information.
    • When the helicopter is making the final approach to the LZ or lifting off appropriate LZ Radio traffic procedures shall be in effect.
    • Once the patient is packaged and ready to load, the helicopter crew may select 2 or 3 personnel to assist loading. When approaching or departing the helicopter, be aware of the tail rotor. Remain low at all times and follow the crew's directions for safety.