Ascension Parish firefighters, first responders attend night landing zone training

Staff Report
Some 50 volunteer firefighters and first responders participated in a landing zone training session.

About 50 volunteer firefighters and medical first responders from Ascension Parish Fire Dist. 1 attended a night landing zone training class at the 7th District Volunteer Fire Department.

According to Fire Board Chairman James E. LeBlanc, volunteer firefighters from St. Amant, 5th Ward, 7th District, Galvez-Lake, Geismar, and Sorrento discussed procedure at night landing zone scenes, hazards encountered by Acadian Ambulance Air Med aircrews at landing zones, and cooperation between Ascension medical responders and Air Med personnel.

Ascension Volunteer fire department members often establish night landing zones for Air Med helicopters during major crash scenes and other emergency response in Ascension Parish, LeBlanc said.

"We continue to be very blessed with the volunteers we have here in Ascension, and the commitment and dedication to training goes above and beyond," he said.

Air Med crews generally prefer the assistance of four to five volunteer firefighters at night landing zones to help get Air Med on the ground safely. Power lines in particular pose a danger to Air Med Crews, LeBlanc stated.

Acadian Air Med Instructors urged Ascension first responders to thoroughly check a landing zone before allowing a helicopter to land, even if the site has been used frequently in the past. At night, Air Med crews use “night ops” goggles similar to those in use by the military, LeBlanc said.