BREAUX BRIDGE, LA — Last night culminated the training of approximately 100 firefighters from the St. Martin Parish Fire District along with deputies from the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office who received landing zone instructional training put on by Acadian Air Med Services personnel.
The trainings were held this week on Monday, Feb. 25 and Thursday, Feb. 28 during the night and consisted of both classroom and practical instruction. The practical part of the training showed participants the proper way to set up a landing zone. After setting up the landing zone, Air Med flew in and demonstrated an actual landing.This training is crucial for both firefighters and law enforcement personnel who are on scene of medical emergencies where Air Med may have to land.
The rural nature of St. Martin Parish makes it difficult sometimes for emergency medical personnel to land safely and this training will enable firefighters and deputies to follow procedures to enable them to do so. Night landings create unique challenges and the training outlined crucial things for landing zone personnel to be aware of. Things such as soft terrain, items such as sheet metal, loose items in the landing area, trees, power lines, cell phone towers, antennas on buildings, and emergency vehicles in the path or close to the landing area can create a potential hazard if the pilot is not made aware of them. This along with sudden changes in wind or an animal or person who wanders in the path of an incoming helicopter were also emphasized as potential dangers that need to be communicated to the pilot.
Additionally, where Air Med lands also has to be in a place where emergency ground personnel can readily access. Ultimately, several factors have to be in place so that the patient can be picked up and transported safely to a nearby hospital. In turn, it also keeps the crew and ground personnel safe as well.
This training is done on an annual basis so that emergency personnel can properly assist Acadian Air Med crews when a medical emergency necessitates the use of Air Med.