Ground Crew Safety Training:


We can't land without you!

Proper preparation and control of on-scene landing sites is critical to the safe execution of a Mercy Flight mission. We depend upon local First Responders to identify and secure safe landing sites, notify the Mercy Flight crew of any relevant hazards, prepare the patient for transport and assist in loading the helicopter.

The Ground Crew Safety Training program is designed to educate Fire & EMS personnel about:

  • Guidelines for helicopter utilization
  • Use of airborne stand-by's
  • On-scene response information
  • Patient preparation
  • Establishing landing sites
  • Communications procedures
  • Ground safety rules

Participants will receive Mercy Flight Ground Crew reflective helmet stickers and completion certificates. Participants may also be eligible to receive CME or training credit (please contact your agency Training Officer).

Please contact Adam White at 716-626-4100 x1313 to schedule your agency's 2016 GCST.

Or, request a landing through our website HERE.

To see upcoming Ground Schools and other events, click HERE.




Choose largest, safe, unobstructed area, closest to the accident scene - field, yard, parking lot, highway.

Minimum 100'x100' landing area and approach/departure paths should be free of ground obstructions (power/light/flag poles, signs, posts, small trees, etc.) and overhead obstructions (power/phone lines, towers, etc.) which can be very difficult to see when airborne. 

Avoid soft, muddy sites that helicopter skids would sink into or areas with loose ground cover (dirt, gravel, snow, etc.) that rotor wash will displace, causing decreased visibility and potential eye hazards.

Never approach helicopter from an uphill side or from the rear - these are danger areas due to the rotor blades.


Landing area should be secured - keep unauthorized persons and vehicles away from landing site.  Four flares (or weighted cones during daylight) should be used to mark the corners of the landing site.  Place a fifth marker, 15 feet outside the side from which the wind is coming from.

Always station tail guard & approach/depart as group, from the front of the helicopter.

IMPORTANT - Always notify flight crew of landing site conditions and obstacles.  If you question the safety of the landing site - advise the flight crew to ABORT the landing.



Designate only one ground control contact.  All Mercy Flight, NY State Police and Erie County Sheriff helicopters can utilize Fire, EMS, Law Enforcement and hospital radio frequencies as well as channel guard and PL tones.




Ground control contact must maintain constant communication with helicopter at all times.  Others should keep portable radios close to their ears when aircraft running.

Do not use white lights during landing or departure.  Minimize use of strobes at night unless marking obstacles.

No smoking, running or vehicular motion near landing site.

Assign personnel for ground contact.  Tail guard will be posted by Mercy Flight crew prior to patient loading.

Do not approach aircraft until directed by Mercy Flight personnel and maintain eye contact for further direction. 

Never approach from the rear of the aircraft.  Please do not assist with doors or equipment unless asked.