Drill of the Week: Medevac Helicopter Operations

You may have experienced landing a helicopter at some time during your career. While helicopter landings may occur infrequently in your jurisdiction, periodically reviewing your department’s medevac helicopter operations will keep your members abreast of any changes in your department’s or various medevac agencies’ SOPs.

There is more to landing a helicopter than just sending members to four corners of a landing zone with flares. What agency makes the call for a medevac unit? What representative of that agency makes it? When does that person make the call? Where will the landing zone be located? The department landing a helicopter must also be prepared for the possibility of an accident with the helicopter itself and what actions to take to gain access to the occupants of the landing medevac unit.

Objectives of this drill include reviewing protocols and criteria for requesting a medevac unit; requirements for a landing site; the protocol regarding lights and marking of the landing site; procedures for approaching the helicopter and loading patients; procedures for emergency access to the helicopter crew in case of an accident; procedures for disconnecting batteries; and procedures for EMTs and paramedics who ride in the helicopter to provide support.

Setting up the drill involves contacting a medevac agency, arranging a time and place for the drill, arranging for a landing site for the helicopter, and planning a backup drill in case the helicopter is diverted to an incident or if scheduling problems arise.

To run the drill, introduce the medevac agency representative to the drill participants and turn the drill over to him.

Base any debriefing on observations and input from medevac personnel.

As with any other drill, discuss what went right, what went wrong, and what to do differently the next time.

If you have a similar drill idea and wish to share it, please e-mail to chrism@pennwell.com.

To review training officer and safety officer considerations, visit http://fe.pennnet.com/Articles/Article_Display.cfm?Section=OnlineArticles&SubSection=HOME&PUBLICATION_ID=25&ARTICLE_ID=202453 to review training officer and safety officer considerations.

For more information on this drill, including a list of references and figures, visit http://store.yahoo.com/pennwell/voltraindril.html to purchase Volunteer Training Drills–A Year of Weekly Drills.

Next week’s drill: Preplans

FireEngineering.com Drill of the Week Archive

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