The San Carlos Airport Association is pleased to announce that we are working with the Half Moon Bay Pilots Association on becoming part of the San Mateo County Disaster Airlift Response Team (DART) and a supporter of the California Disaster Airlift Response Team (CalDART). Following our participation in the Oct. 26, 2019 San Francisco Bay Area Catastrophic Earthquake Exercise at Half Moon Bay Airport, our Board of Directors unanimously approved our enrollment in CalDART and our enthusiastic cooperation with formation of the San Mateo County DART organization.
We all hope that we never experience a major earthquake or other natural disaster but at the same time we know that the big one could occur any day. We are also keenly aware of the critical role that our community airport will play in the event of a major emergency. We will be a staging area for emergency operations by federal, state and local agencies all of whom will be here to help us. At the same time, there are hundreds of private aircraft based at San Carlos Airport and many pilots who have been highly trained and who will be eager to help their neighbors.
The San Mateo County DART organization is comprised of pilots from San Carlos and Half Moon Bay Airports as well as ground support staff, medical specialists, and ham radio operators. When a major disaster strikes, it is vitally important that the key people in the local DART organization already know their roles and how to perform their assigned tasks. Practice disaster exercises are a standard technique of working out organizational issues and staff responsibilities before a real emergency occurs.
Images from the Oct. 26, 2019 exercise at Half Moon Bay Airport, led by the Half Moon Bay Pilots Association, are shown below. Overall, 42 volunteers signed in and that included 16 pilots. 14 missions were flown, including simulated reuniting of parents with stranded children, medical evacuations, supply movement (food and water), and wildlife protection. By the end of the day we had identified several areas for improvement and met with an enthusiastic group of volunteers who are standing by and eager to help their neighbors in time of emergency.