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Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems

Tag: covid19 coronavirus

Helicopters & Tents. DO NOT MIX!

Don’t set up Emergency COVID -19 Triage “Tents” Too Close To Your Heliport

March 27, 2020

by Rex Alexander

Helicopters produce a significant amount of downwash (rotor-wash) during takeoff, landing and hovering operations.  The velocity of this rotor-wash is directly proportional to a  helicopter’s size and weight.  Even a small helicopter’s rotor-wash can cause serious damage and inflict injury under the right circumstances. 

In 2018 at Fort Hunter Liggett, California the U.S. Army had 22 soldiers injured when a helicopter landed too close to the tent that they were occupying when it collapsed. 

Even when a tent stays in place, the laws of physics and aerodynamics are destined to displace every ounce of loose, unsecured and light to medium weight material located inside to the outside in a matter seconds. 

It is not just the location of the heliport in relationship to a tent that is of importance here.  The flight path of the helicopter must be taken into careful consideration as well.  As a helicopter is landing or taking off it is producing rotor-wash below it which can stay intact for up to a hundred feet or so.

Rotor wash is also greatly influenced by the wind and will travel in the direction the wind is blowing.  

The threat is two-fold:

  1. The helicopter can ingest loose items such as towels, blankets, trash bags, jackets and even the tent itself into the main and tail rotor systems with catastrophic consequences.
  • Individuals in and around the tent can be severely injured from the blowing debris or the collapsing of the tent itself, but if the helicopter crashes as in the scenario lives may be lost.



  • DO locate & set up any and all tents, storage areas, triage areas far away from any landing zone or heliport.
  • DO NOT assume your tent won’t be affected.
  • DO keep the area under the approach and departure paths clear of tents, storage areas, debris and triage areas.
  • DO secure any and all loose debris such as trash, dumpsters, tarps… near the heliport or landing area.
  • DO alert all Helicopter Air Ambulance Providers that you have a tent located on your campus and where it is.
  • DO mark the heliport with a large yellow X, signaling to pilots that it is closed for operations if you intend to close the heliport. 

HAA Providers

  • DO conduct a thorough reconnaissance of all landing sites prior to landing.
  • DO NOT attempt to land near any tent.
  • DO identify and use a safe alternative landing site when necessary.
  • DO NOT assume that materials near your landing area are secure.
  • DO alert other providers when you identify a new hazard
  • DO NOT hesitate to say NO when appropriate
  • DO Provide guidance and education on safe landing area operations  

AMPA statement – Covid19

March 20, 2020

After careful monitoring of the rapidly changing situation related to COVID-19, understanding that concerns for health, safety, and the impact on meeting attendance, among other issues, are affecting our conference, the difficult decision has been made to cancel CCTMC for 2020.  We are committed to maintaining appropriate health and safety measures, and we encourage you to follow guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.  CCTMC attendees and exhibitors will be issued a full refund or may choose to roll their registration to the 2021 conference.  Watch our websites, Facebook and for details for 2021 as they become available in the near future. You won’t want to miss it!Best regards,AMPA, ASTNA, IAFCCP

AMPA Position Statement

AMPA is attentive to the concerns of its membership in addressing the challenges associated with the transport of patients with suspected or confirmed infection with SARS-CoV-2. Recommendations regarding the personal protective equipment required to care for these patients remain fluid, and AMPA recommends that its members remain familiar with the recommendations of the World Health Organization as well as those of their local, regional, and national health protection authorities.

• AMPA supports social distancing and recommends seeking alternatives to gatherings of greater than ten people.
• AMPA supports the WHO recommendation to employ standard, contact, and droplet precautions when caring for and transporting patients with suspected or confirmed infection with SARS-CoV-2.

⁃ AMPA recommends that patients with suspected or confirmed infection with SARS-CoV2 wear a surgical mask during care and transport.

• AMPA supports the WHO recommendation to employ standard, contact, and airborne precautions when caring for and transporting patients with suspected or confirmed infection with SARS-CoV-2 who are undergoing aerosol-generating procedures such as nebulization, mask oxygenation, high flow nasal cannula oxygenation, non-invasive positive pressure ventilation, endotracheal intubation, bag valve mask ventilation, cricothyrotomy, tracheostomy, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

⁃ AMPA further supports the WHO recommendation to attempt to avoid performing aerosol-generating procedures in confined spaces.
⁃ AMPA therefore cautions against transporting patients anticipated to require aerosolgenerating procedures during transport and suggests mitigating the need for aerosolgenerating procedures prior to transport.
⁃ AMPA recommends the use of a certified bacterial and viral filter in the ventilator circuit of mechanically ventilated patients but recommends airborne precautions during transport to safeguard against unanticipated aerosol-generating procedures.
⁃ AMPA further recommends the mitigating use of a certified bacterial and viral filter (1) between the bag and the endotracheal tube or between the bag and the face mask of manually ventilated patients, and (2) in the circuit of patients being provided noninvasive positive pressure ventilation, when feasible.
⁃ AMPA further acknowledges that local, regional, or national practice may be to employ airborne precautions on a broader population of patients with suspected or confirmed infection with SARS-CoV-2 and that these recommendations remain fluid.

• AMPA recommends that pilots and other vehicle operators employ droplet or airborne precautions as appropriate, utilizing appropriately fit-tested personal protective equipment, unless the cockpit and patient compartment are completely separated.
• AMPA cautions that using a particulate respirator mask while wearing a flight helmet may render the mask ineffective unless appropriate fit testing has been performed while wearing the helmet.
• AMPA acknowledges that SARS-CoV-2 may survive in the environment for extended periods of time and recommends decontamination of all surfaces and open air ventilation of the patient compartment following the transport of patients with suspected or confirmed infection with SARS-CoV-2.

AMPA acknowledges that our understanding of potential best practices remains fluid at this time and recommends careful consideration of current guidelines and continuous reassessment of the potential benefits and risks surrounding the transport of patients with suspected or confirmed infection with SARS-CoV-2. AMPA will continuously review these recommendations and provide interim guidance as necessary.