Safety Zones

Defined by the Department of Defense, safety zones are areas around airfields that have a statistically higher exposure to the possibility of aircraft accidents than other nearby areas. These accident potential zones (APZs) were developed from an analysis of over 800 major Air Force accidents that occurred within 10 miles of an Air Force installation between 1968 and 1995. APZs relate to flight tracks at an air base (arrivals, departures, and patterned flights) and extend outward from the base’s runways. The AICUZ program includes compatibility guidelines to ensure that land uses in these zones will minimize the risk of damage to life and property from aircraft accidents. A key principle underlying these guidelines involves limiting uses that concentrate large numbers of people in a small area. The 2007 Andrews AFB AICUZ study contains a table of land use compatibility guidelines, but the guidelines, which are used by military installations nationwide, were updated in 2008

3 Safety Zones
Joint Base Andrews has 3 safety zones:
  • Accident Potential Zone I (APZ I)
  • Accident Potential Zone II (APZ II)
  • Clear Zone (CZ)
Each end of the base runways has an approximately 3,000-foot by 5,000-foot CZ, a 5,000-foot by 5,000-foot APZ I, and an approximately 7,000-foot by 5,000-foot APZ II. The safety zones at Andrews were first delineated in the 1974 AICUZ, after some of the land uses currently in the zones north and south of the base had already been established.

Accident Potential Zone I
Accident potential in Accident Potential Zone I is lower than in the CZ, but this area still carries a significant risk factor. The AICUZ land use compatibility guidelines for APZ I areas are more flexible than those for CZs and are intended to allow reasonable economic use of the land while discouraging residential and non-residential uses that concentrate people in small areas.

Accident Potential Zone II
Accident potential in Accident Potential Zone II is even lower than that in APZ I, but the potential for accidents still exists in this area. Under the AICUZ land use compatibility guidelines, acceptable APZ II uses include those of APZ I, as well as low density single-family residential uses. High density uses such as multistory buildings and places of assembly, including theaters, churches, schools, restaurants, and high density office uses, are not considered appropriate uses for APZ II.

Clear Zone
The Clear Zone has the highest accident potential of the 3 zones. Placing structures, buildings, or above-ground utility lines in the CZ is limited by military policy and discouraged in a majority of CZs around the country. At Andrews, the Clear Zone at the end of the southern runway is entirely on base. However, the Clear Zone adjacent to the northern runway lies partially off-base, extending across MD 4 into the Penn-Belt South Industrial Center.

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