Further Progress With DART Exercises Being Made
Written by Sky Terry – As the North West Regional Emergency Services Director for the Emergency Volunteer Air Corps I get the privilege to work with communities to help them become better prepared to utilize general aviation as a key resource. Sometimes in that role you get to be a part of something that is profound. So with the below that was definitely the case.
For what originally had been planned as a training session turned into a real world training session as the fluctuating weather caused us to make many timing adjustments as we coordinated the departure and arrival of many aircraft. We also learned that the ability to get pictures of the actual airport weather conditions to the inbound pilots was very helpful. So below was yet another huge step forward for our state.
On July 28th out at Forks Airport in Washington State in Clallam County, the first ground support training utilizing land-based aircraft was held. This training was a little more unique is it was at a more remote airstrip and not a major hub. Because of that it helped to simulate more of the forward austere conditions at pick up locations like remote strips or even potential sections of road etc that we might face in the event of the earthquake Washington State is due for. Many aspects of the DART function were tested this day and it really helped facilitate further development for multiple counties.
Many thanks to all who participated in this effort to make it possible. Especially thank you to the Washington Pilots Association, Washington Seaplane Pilots Association, Jefferson County and Clallam County DART Pilots that provided time with their aircraft to make the training possible. Additionally a special thank you for the Emergency Management/EMS individuals out of Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Quinault Native American Nation, Island County, and the many others who attended to help make this such a successful event.
As these training’s occur it is something that gives me much hope as it is a vital function of helping this state and helping lead the west coast to a much better level of preparedness. With these continued and expanding training’s occurring all over our state and also in California it gives me much greater confidence in the west coast’s ability to take the hit that we’re going to have from this earthquake that were due for. For me this is always a very personal thing because of the many experiences of stopping and helping at traffic accidents and being one of the first one’s there. Having lives in my hands waiting for EMS to arrive as, I believe, given me some possible insight into what this could be like in the aftermath of what is to come. Because of these experiences and realizing that one of the biggest things the earthquake does is eliminate the actual ability to get there or even if they are able to get there to get beyond the actual injury site to a higher level of care, these training’s have become even more incredibly vital to saving lives.
So now you look at what we are doing with the DART’s and it’s the same thing, just in a different environment. We are training ground teams in remote communities and pilots to work together to help bridge the gap until more regular response resources come on line. Just like my CPR experience, communities are finally getting the training to jump in the moment it all goes wrong, to work with EMS when they arrive or just their neighbors and get them to pick up locations so the pilots can take it the rest of the way so that we have viable patients by the time regular medical resources can get back up and running. It’s all about the time, the sooner we get things moving the less lives we loose.
Thank you to all who have helped in the past and continue to help now with developing such a critical life sustaining resource and as someone who has literally held a person’s life in their hands a very special thank you to EMS for all that you do on daily bases and the pilots who, when the planet drops the bottom out entirely, by flying out will mean we don’t have to watch people die that otherwise would have.
Sky Terry is the Emergency and Disaster Response Editor at Seaplanemagazine.com and has written extensively on the topic of incorporating General & Business Aviation into the mix of first response after natural disasters. If you wish to get involved in the effort or begin developing your own plan to start an Emergency Response Team, please contact him via Email. To learn more about the Emergency Volunteer Air Corps visit EVAC.org. Sky Terry also puts out frequent email updates on the progress of these effort reaching a large number of individuals.
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