VTOL aircraft in emergency planning and management: a model for a helipad network

Disasters. 2009 Mar;33(1):82-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7717.2008.01063.x. Epub 2008 May 21.


The scientific literature regarding HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) planning lacks a method for defining optimal sites for helipads that takes into account risk distribution and hospital location. Such a method could minimise overall rescue time in emergency situations. In this paper a method that supports the decisions taken by disaster planners and managers is developed, focusing on the quantification of necessary air resources for the management of some probable calamities. Given a region characterised by a natural and non-natural disaster risk map, along with a comprehensive transport system (also characterised by a risk map), a set of emergency destinations (hospitals), a set of heliports/helipads dislocated on the territory and a number of available HEMS rotorcraft, the aim of the paper is to assess the adequacy of the VTOL/FATO (Vertical Take-Off and Landing/Final Take-Off and Landing Area) system in order to deal with a set of possible emergencies.

MeSH terms

  • Air Ambulances*
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Disaster Planning*
  • Humans
  • Regional Health Planning
  • Sicily