Fire chief answers questions about med flights after road shut down

heliBY MARCY SHORTUSE – The Boca Grande Fire Department has clarified some information that many have asked about regarding aeromedical helicopter landing zones.


With an increase in activity on the island there have been medical helicopter landings, and one in particular on Gasparilla Road left some people with questions.

According to Fire Chief C.W. Blosser, aeromedical helicopter landings aren’t just for the wealthy. No matter who is gravely ill or injured, if chances of their survival are poor unless immediate medical attention is given, a medical helicopter will be summoned.

There are currently five predetermined landing zones on the island.

The coordinates for those zones are programmed into the local helicopters that normally respond to the island. The information is also kept in all of the Boca Grande Fire Department vehicles, in the event other mutual aid responders outside of the area may need it.

“Every effort is made to utilize those zones when practical and when patient

care allows for it,” Blosser said. “Occasionally an emergency may dictate that a closer landing zone to the location of the emergency may be in the best interest for patient care. Precious time can be saved that could ultimately result in a better outcome for the patient.”

When the helicopter landed on Gasparilla Road a few weeks ago and halted traffic, Blosser said that emergency call fell into those parameters.

“In that situation an alternate site was utilized,” Blosser said. “The location of the landing zone was as close to the emergency scene as possible, which resulted in better care for the patient.”