A Chain That Must Not Be Broken

A Chain That Must Not Be Broken

Since seeing the disaster of Hurricane Katrina unfold, I’ve devoted a big portion of my time off to facilitating the development of programs for the west coast to survive the devastating magnitude 8 plus earthquake that potentially could last 3 to 5 minutes.  It will leave much of Washington and Oregon west of the Cascadia Range in ruin and potentially parts of Northern California.  It will likely be the worst disaster this nation has seen.

New Yorker Article on the earthquake;

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/20/the-really-big-one–?intcid=popular

It has been a source of hope to see how general aviation is rising to the challenge. Pilots are preparing to provide the critical support needed to help lessen much of the loss that will occur in the aftermath of the devastation and help with the recovery.  It is this collaborative effort between pilots, communities and emergency resources that will save lives.

As a home health nurse, I work with patients who can’t get out of their homes for treatment. I see many who are on numerous medications, some of which have life threatening consequences if suddenly stopped.  Recently, in my time off while developing a list of supplies that might be needed to get out to the damage zone, I conferred with my fellow nurses and we made a list of some of these critical medications.  This discussion spurred this article.

One big aspect of medications is that we’ve advanced so much in medicine that the medications that many are on, in many cases, can be sole reason the patient isn’t in the hospital.  This translates to people who are not as stable without the medications and much more likely to end up in critical care or in need of ER visits.  So if their flow of medications runs out, their health can be is serious jepordy.

Many people can’t wait 3 weeks to have supplies start coming in when it comes to medications. Many cardiac medications cannot be stockpiled for a 3-week emergency supply in an individual patient’s home.  It is unrealistic and potentially fatal to make that assumption.

Below is an 2016 article from the Seattle times about how ready the state is over all.  But there or some areas making significant steps to improve things on a large scale.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/washington-states-plan-for-megaquake-grossly-inadequate-review-finds/

Below are two articles from Seaplanemagazine.com that give me hope that areas developing these programs will prevent that supply chain from being broken.

http://seaplanemagazine.com/2017/04/29/disaster-response-seaplane-amy-page/

http://seaplanemagazine.com/2017/04/22/disaster-airlift-response-plan-becoming-multi-state/

Some may not believe that general aviation can have much of an impact, I’ve heard it said more than once.  But history shows us otherwise.

Below is not just a list of general aviation history, but some over all aspects of how everyday people have done extraordinary things to make that critical difference.  So let’s allow history its voice.

Battle of Dunkirk:  Thousands were saved off the beach in Dunkirk in part because every-day citizens used their regular boats and went into hell to rescue people.

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/dunkirk-evacuation-ends

World War II:  Chinse Theater for the allies was kept open at one point only because of cargo transported over the Himalayas via military aircraft.

http://www.historynet.com/over-the-hump.htm

Berlin Airlift:  When Russia blockaded Berlin, the allies kept it open exclusively with air transport.

https://history.state.gov/milestones/1945-1952/berlin-airlift

Watsonville Airport became a life line after a major earthquake and about 80 aircraft delivered close to ½ million pounds of supplies in 3 days.

After a major disaster in Fiji, float planes came to the rescue to deliver aid.

http://seaplanemagazine.com/2016/03/08/pacific-island-air-seaplanes-relief-flights/

After Haiti’s major earthquake, a flying boat delivered an entire medical team directly to a community despite the road damage between the airport and the community.

These few examples make it clear that during major disasters, general aviation can save lives. The areas along the west coast developing this resource should be commended and supported as they will save lives.

For patients on critical medications, that supply chain can’t break without dire consequences and below are hopeful programs to prevent that break along with the two prior articles in the online seaplane magazine.

Most recent MCI drill video;

Channel 4 News Story;

http://komonews.com/news/videos/seaplane-pilots-could-be-saviors-in-a-disaster

You tube of two springs MCI’s;

So will we learn from history and save lives or be shortsighted and regret the cost?

Sky Terry – Seaplanemagazine.com Contributing Editor and NW Regional Emergency Services Director with EVAC- Emergency Volunteer Air Corps has written on the topic of the use of seaplanes and general aviation in disaster response extensively. Do you have a topic of interest that involves Waterflying? Join us as contributing editor or send your guest article to editor@seaplanemagazine.com today!

 

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