Exercise Demonstrates Seaplanes Ability to Provide Critical Services in a Disaster
Area emergency responders and the Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management (JCDEM) joined the United States Navy, a Disaster Airlift Response Team (DART) and organized neighborhood groups in an exercise on and around Naval Magazine Indian Island on August 9. The exercise simulated the aftermath of a large earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone.
Goals of the drill included the transfer of wounded personnel on and off of Indian Island via East Jefferson Fire Rescue (EJFR) marine unit Guardian and the use of DART seaplanes to evacuate the injured out of the area. A highlight of the exercise was the loading of a dummy representing an injured East Jefferson Fire Rescue firefighter onto a DART seaplane located at Kala Point.
Members of the Kala Point emergency preparedness committee and Marrowstone Island participated by acting as the landing crew, and triaging volunteers before preparing them for a simulated evacuation via seaplane. The seaplane, a Cesna 182, was piloted by volunteer Don Goodman of Bellingham.
JCDEM assisted by providing backup communications between the Jefferson County Emergency Operations Center and Navy representatives.
This exercise represents the first use of DART float plane resources to evacuate injured persons in an area disaster drill. The DART program brings together a group of local pilots willing to transfer supplies and other needed resources in and out of disaster-affected areas and assist in getting injured people to safety. Sky Terry is spearheading the effort for DART. A team is being created in Clallam County, and efforts are now underway to bring that same kind of help to Jefferson County. The post-disaster primary mission of the DART team will be to transport medical supplies; evacuate injured people; deliver food supplies and reconnaissance.