About 100 volunteers with the South Carolina Civil Air Patrol (CAP) are coordinating flights to help with the recovery after Hurricane Florence.
CAP flights include taking photos, checking flood levels, search and rescue, and assessing damage and infrastructure. Information they gather on their flights are provided to officials at the South Carolina Emergency Management Division Emergency Operations Center. The teams also assist on search and rescue calls.
“We will be taking photographs of fixed points in flooded areas so that the state can use those photographs to monitor the rising of the floodwaters and then the eventual receding of the floodwaters as they map flood damage throughout the state,” South Carolina Winge Commander Col. Lee Safley said.
Some aerial photos are taken for FEMA use. They are immediately uploaded to federal officials once the plane lands.
“One of our aerial assets is assigned to be performing photography, including video, of the Lynches River system in the Pee Dee,” he said. “But that’s repeated through a number of the systems as well as some of the other fixed points like roads and bridges.”
Safley said the patrols are also checking dams’ integrity after the heavy rainfall and reporting the information back to headquarters.
The South Carolina CAP has 10 Cessna aircraft. If the need arises, it can request help from 550 aircraft nationwide.
“We’ve requested two strike teams,” Safley said. “One’s coming in from the National Capital Wing. This would be an aerial photography crew with cameras, aircraft and crew member. Also the Maryland Wing is sending a strike force.”
Safley said the CAP is requesting some larger aircraft from out of state that can carry cargo or more people.
South Carolina’s CAP has about 850 volunteers, 300 of them cadets under the age of 20. Safley said families are allowed to participate in CAP together. To participate, call the Wing Headquarters at 803-822-5470. Click here for more information.