Working with Aircraft


Whenever working in proximity of air tanker action, firefighters must be aware of the areas where the tankers are going to drop their retardant. All workers must leave the area where the drops are to be made and be at least 100 meters away from the drop target. The bird dog plane will sound a warbling warning siren as it passes over the drop zone just prior to a retardant drop.

Workers should immediately walk away at right angles to the drop path to a safe area at least 30 meters away. If you cannot safely exit the drop zone, lay face down on the ground, facing the direction the Bird Dog plane came from. Hold your hard hat on your head and lay your hand tools behind you. Protect your air passage. Avoid any snags or material that can fly up and injure you. Return to work only after the steady all clear siren has been sounded. Be extremely careful of walking in the drop zone as the retardant is very slippery.

Whenever working in the proximity of helicopters, fire fighters must be aware of the danger zones. One being under the main rotor. Another danger zone is at the rear of the helicopter:

Never walk around the tail rotor The third danger area is under the tail boom as there may be a hot exhaust outlet there.

Never approach or depart a helicopter without the pilot’s approval – obtain a signal (usually a nod)

Always approach or depart a helicopter from or towards the downhill side

Always approach or depart from the front (unless it slopes uphill) so you are visible to the pilot and will away from the tail rotor

Develop the habit of crouching when in the vicinity of helicopters – remember to look where you are walking – even when crouched

Never raise anything above your head

Carry tools low to the ground – never upright or resting on your shoulder

Never throw anything in the vicinity of a helicopter – objects striking the rotors will damage the helicopter and can become dangerous projectiles

Walk – don’t run when working around helicopters

Keep motor vehicles will back from helicopters and keep dogs and animals tied when helicopters are landing and taking off.

Working with Heavy Equipment


Never work down slope of any heavy equipment. Keep at least 2 tree lengths away from working equipment. Make sure the equipment operator sees you before you approach the machine. Be aware of flying debris if in the proximity of a feller buncher and other mechanical tree falling machines. Wear High-Vis vests when working with heavy equipment.