Helicopter Landing Area Safety

Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Jun 2020


The following points should be considered when operating around an unimproved landing site:

  • Always wear your personal protective equipment (PPE) when working around an operating helicopter. (Eye, hearing, head.)
  • Always get the approval of a flight crewmember or the pilot before approaching an operating helicopter.
  • Only approach and depart a helicopter as directed, in a slightly crouched position. Do not run. Keep in the pilot’s field of vision at all times.
  • Never go near the tail of helicopters.
  • When loading helicopters in uneven terrain, always approach and depart from the downslope (lower) side and do not hold equipment overhead.
  • Remove or secure loose articles prior to working around an operating helicopter.
  • Do not reach up or chase after loose objects.


Be aware of the dust abatement conditions of the landing area, as blowing dust, sand, or rocks caused by the helicopter’s rotor wash can be hazardous.



Additional Resources

Incident Management Situation Report (IMSR)
Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461
NWCG Standards for Helicopter Operations, PMS 510
RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)
Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book)
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

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