LESSON 6 - PERSONAL SAFETY
The province of Nova Scotia presently has a fleet of 5 helicopters; a Bell 212, three MD 500E and one EC 120. These aircraft are very versatile and can perform a variety of functions related to fire suppression. The province is covered with lakes, rivers and many other water sources which makes the helicopter an ideal suppression tool. Their main function is to transport staff to remote areas and provide water drops. They can be used to sling load (equipment suspended in a cargo net below the helicopter) equipment into a fire or used as a platform to observe operations on a large fire. The area required to land a helicopter is small and there are very few sites where this cannot be accomplished, this will assist a crew in accessing a remote site even faster.
The Bell 212 (medium aircraft), can carry a 5 person crew, suppression equipment (complete pump unit) and a 300 gallon Bambi bucket.
The MD 500E (light aircraft) carries 1 pilot and 3 passengers. It has a bucket capacity of 100 gallons
Care must be exercised by ground crews when in the area of working aircraft. Water drops from a light or medium usually feel like a heavy rain, however try to avoid the drops whenever you can. Water dropped from a low height can break off weakened tree tops or branches which will end up on the crew.