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Landing Zone Preparation and Safety

Preparing the Landing Zone (LZ)

The following guidelines must be utilized to select, prepare and secure a safe landing site for MedFlight:

  • Size: At least 100 feet x 100 feet
  • Shape: Square, circular, or rectangular
  • Slope: Relatively flat (less than 10º slope)
  • Surface: The LZ should be free of debris and equipment
  • Surroundings: Identify power lines, antennas, trees, signs, poles or hazards within 500 yards and keep personnel, spectators and vehicles at least 200 feet from the touchdown area
  • Safety: Do not approach the helicopter without crew supervision
  • Daytime LZ: Mark the four corners of the site with highly visible objects
  • Nighttime LZ: Use strobe kits or vehicle headlights to mark the LZ. Flashlights placed inside orange cones are highly visible markers.

Avoid shining light directly at the aircraft as this may interfere with the pilot’s night vision

Helipad/Helistop Safety Precautions


  • Ensure adequate perimeter lighting and security
  • Ensure the helipad is clear of bystanders, vehicles, and debris
  • Wear appropriate eye and hearing protection
  • Ensure adequate fire retardant chemicals are readily available

Aircraft Arrival

  • Never approach helicopter while rotors are turning
  • Wait for a signal from the pilot or medical crew before you approach the aircraft
  • Follow the crew instructions for loading/unloading

Aircraft Departure

Ensure the pad is secure and free of bystanders, vehicles, obstacles, and debris

General Safety Precautions

  • No running toward the helicopter
  • Approach and exit from the front with approval from the air medical team
  • Wear appropriate eye and hearing protection
  • Remain at a distance of at least 100 feet during all take off and landings
  • No loose articles within 100 feet of helicopter blades in motion
  • Do not raise anything higher than head level (IV poles)
  • No vehicle traffic within 100 feet of the helicopter
  • No smoking within 100 feet of the helicopter
  • Designate a landing zone (LZ) commander
  • Maintain complete landing zone security throughout arrival, scene and departure
*Please exercise the above landing zone security guidelines and precautions throughout the entire operation.