The possibility of a mishap during a space shuttle landing at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) dictates the need for plans to rescue astronauts from areas other than the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF). All shuttle landings are unpowered, gliding flight maneuvers, and a deviation from the planned flight profile could result in a shuttle landing or crashing somewhere other than the SLF runway.
The geography of the Kennedy Space Center makes helicopter airlifting the only universal means of transportation for the rescue crew. This rescue crew is composed of KSC contractor fire-rescuemen who would ride to the crash scene on USAF HH-3 helicopters. These crews are provided with personal protective suits and training in shallow water, swamp, and dry land rescues. They aid the egress of the crew to a safe area for helicopter pickup and subsequent triage and medevac.