Emergency Management in The Sky

So my brother Parker is kind of a badass and the inspiration for todays post.

He's 16 and he flies planes and helicopters (among many other phenomenal things). Do you know what I was doing at 16? Failing my drivers test... twice.

He's planning on applying to colleges that offer helicopter training programs so that he can be a search and rescue (SAR) pilot (via the civilian route). As my parents shake their head in confusion over how 50% of their children are going into the field of emergency management I think this is GREAT. As many of my friends will tell you I LOVE sending people news articles to read. I often think (also because I've been told this... ahem.. Charles) that most of the time they don't read what I send them but it makes me feel like I'm contributing to society by sharing knowledge.

Anyways... I've begun to send Parker such articles (I know... such the academic) and as a result have found that I'm actually quite interested in things that fly during disasters.

The past few days I've come across three articles that I thought I would share:

1. The flooding in Colorado has activated the largest helicopter rescue response in the United States since Katrina: Apparently 21 helicopters are flying around rescuing people. Having no real orientation as to how many helicopters are typically used during a disaster I have to say that 21 doesn't really seem like too many... Apparently I've just been ignorant on the subject as there are entire websites dedicated to explaining the role of helicopters during Katrina. Someone get me a handrail so I can step out of my Recovery Bubble...

2. This article from The Big Slice (which is a website I always recommend taking with a grain of salt) is all kinds of sass... The article deals with residents in Colorado being charged for being rescued by helicopters... Apparently it's $1200... Don't worry - I investigated further. Apparently there's all sorts of regulations and guidelines about when the government or individuals are financially responsible for rescue operations. It also varies by country. Time wrote all about it.

3. As the drone conversation runs rampant across the US I had a few fleeting thoughts about the potential usefulness of drones during response and what is brought to my attention today? An article about just that! Apparently a private drone company was flying all around Colorado mapping the damage. More sass: According to this article FEMA was not having any of it and threatened to arrest the owners of the company if they didn't ground their drones. I'm not sure what FEMA's reasoning for this was nor is it clear how the company was using the data they were collecting (although it seemed to be good intentions). I think drones could be incredibly useful in emergency management for collecting data, etc. I'm curious to see how the future use of drones in the field plays out. To put it politely our field struggles to innovate and embrace new technologies. For example, the use of social media in our field is... in a state of delusional disarray.

So... if you're ever in need of a rescue call Parker... if you buy him a snickers he'd probably rescue you for free.