EVAC: the Emergency Volunteer Air Corpssm

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 INTRODUCTION

     EVAC, the Emergency Volunteer Air Corps, was founded in 1987 for the purpose of organizing General Aviation pilots, amateur radio operators, and other personnel to be of service during disasters and other major public emergencies.

     During the campaign to save California's Santa Monica Airport in the early 1980's it was learned that while some groups such as the Civil Air Patrol were well prepared to provide many vital services, there was no specific plan for utilizing the remaining majority of the General Aviation fleet and community at that airport during the great earthquake expected to occur in the area. Further investigation revealed that there was no plan in existence to provide this capability nationally and thus the EVAC program was begun.

     The EVAC mission was first publicly described to pilots in meetings of the California Pilots Association in Concord and San Diego, California in 1987 and 1988, and is fully discussed in this manual.

Preface and Acknowledgement

     EVAC is now receiving many new requests for information. Because of increased media coverage of public benefit flying, airlifts flown in response to various emergency situations such as the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in California, Hurricane Andrew, later emergencies, and participation in emergency exercises, increased interest is being expressed in the emergency relief potential of the General Aviation community.

     We join with the entire aviation community in saluting all who have flown mercy missions and hope all such efforts receive the maximum possible support from all aviators whenever and wherever disaster strikes. These activities not only helped others but have shown the importance of emergency service and the EVAC mission. Also important to our growth has been the publicity and support provided us by the Santa Monica Airport Association, which provided initial EVAC funding, and by the California Pilots Association and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

     During a major public emergency such as a flood, fire, earthquake, or hurricane, emergency facilities will be strained and possibly seriously overloaded. Needless deaths, injuries, and loss of property would likely result. We believe that well coordinated General Aviation volunteer pilots, operators, and support personnel can contribute significantly to emergency relief efforts, supplementing and complementing existing resources by using the extensive fleet of airplanes and helicopters and the highly trained pilots and other aviation personnel involved in General Aviation. Thus, every airport can serve as a new major resource providing disaster relief capabilities for the families and communities located in its vicinity.

Mission Statement

     The Emergency Volunteer Air Corps promotes and coordinates effective and useful additional General Aviation volunteer participation during emergency relief efforts, especially after disasters.

Operating Concept

     EVAC's primary operating concept provides that General Aviation pilots, operators, and support personnel using available helicopters and airplanes can contribute invaluable lifesaving services during major public emergencies, especially if provision is made for an effective organization and proper preparedness prior to an emergency and for disciplined response during one.

General Aviation Capabilities During Emergencies:

     The EVAC program envisions trained General Aviation pilots and supporters using their resources and skills for the benefit of their communities in the wake of a disaster. Able to operate when other transportation facilities are disabled or destroyed, General Aviation volunteers will transport emergency service workers, medical personnel, vital supplies, and injured victims, supplementing the medevac and airlift capabilities of the armed forces, the national guard, commercial and volunteer medical transportation groups, and other vital support groups such as the Civil Air Patrol and the Sheriffs' Aero Squadrons.

     General aviation aircraft will be especially useful for bringing regular and supplemental emergency service workers such as police and fire personnel into a stricken community which may be isolated because of disrupted ground transportation infrastructure. Another important role concerns the evacuation of non-critical injury cases and patients with chronic medical conditions that would add to the workload of already overburdened medical and rescue personnel or might go untreated and unattended in the local area. Likewise, smaller aircraft can transport the specific supplies and equipment needed directly to the affected communities, reducing the need for ground transportation and on-site distribution during the frantic circumstances of an actual emergency situation.

     General Aviation helicopters can rescue stranded personnel from buildings, parks, and other tight spaces and bring in emergency personnel and supplies. General Aviation airplanes can link up with the helicopters, handling intermediate and medium range tasks using local airports and even disabled stretches of freeways, roads, and fields.

     The General Aviation community could also supply many additional supplementary services. Small aircraft will be invaluable for surveying damaged areas and spotting isolated victims. Sophisticated multi-channel radio equipment will provide a complete, parallel communications network independent of the telephone and emergency service systems. Pilots and support personnel, already enjoying expertise with the aviation system, will be able to maintain the air transportation system as volunteers, freeing local, state, and federal personnel for vital administrative and interagency functions. General Aviation aircraft can carry airborne radio repeaters, widening the service area for communications provided by amateur radio emergency groups and military communications workers. Finally, General Aviation volunteers can assist in securing, surveying, and reopening airfields and assisting FAA personnel in re-establishing air traffic control facilities and services, and assist local emergency service agencies in coordinating air transportation activities and loading and unloading of aircraft.

     Finally, only after the larger airports are sufficiently repaired following a disaster will major airlines be able to help evacuate groups of homeless or injured to those large centralized facilities near major airports. In contrast, the large number of General Aviation aircraft and pilots now widely dispersed throughout the region will be able to transport large numbers of individuals directly to hundreds of smaller hospitals, clinics, or shelters throughout the adjoining states and bring in individual relief personnel and necessary supplies from those non-centralized locations. Use of the existing General Aviation airports would also preclude the necessity of transporting on the ground large numbers of victims far from their local communities to hub airports. Instead, they would be able to use the services of a nearby small airport; one that is less likely to suffer serious damage or disruption and which will be instantly available during the critical first minutes and hours after a disaster.

Activities

     Early practice exercises plus the success of the airlift operations of emergency volunteers in several emergencies have already acted as a partial pilot program, yielding valuable information on what can and cannot be done. EVAC is building on what was learned in those situations and is sharing information among the participants. We also demonstrated EVAC capabilities in SEISMOS 90 and AIRLIFT 91, emergency preparedness exercises conducted by the City of Santa Monica, in the August 1990 airlift of medical and other supplies to Guaymas, Mexico, following severe floods, and in several large scale exercises in San Diego and Riverside Counties. EVAC also provides its expertise to other public benefit flying organizations through its participation as an active member group of the Air Care Alliance, and in that way provided information that helped organize relief efforts following Hurricanes Andrew, Katrina, and others, the Haiti earthquake, as well as following the 911 attacks when the first general aviation relief flights launched on the very evening of the attacks, when no one else was flying except the military.              

Organizational Structure

     The Emergency Volunteer Air Corps is a national organization, incorporated in California as a non profit public benefit corporation. It is dedicated to public service objectives and in 1991 qualified for IRS 501 C(3) status.

     EVAC is mostly involved in providing a national forum for discussing general aviation volunteer relief efforts, and in encouraging other volunteer pilot programs to develop disaster preparedness and response programs for their pilots.  since 1990 EVAC has seen such programs and capabilities developed in many of the volunteer pilot groups listed by the Air Care Alliance, and has provided information to them in the annual Air Care conferences.

     EVAC is also Chapter-oriented, facilitating the formation of individual self-governing chapters which do not need to separately incorporate in order to enjoy the protection and benefits of non-profit corporate status and to permit them the use of the EVAC name and logo. This enhances the ability of chapters to attract membership and to participate with others in a well coordinated national effort. The relationship between the national organization and the chapters is seen as one of cooperative partnership and mutual support furthering the attainment of common objectives. Local affairs are under the control of the local chapter. Operational procedures and manuals are tailored to the needs and capabilities of each community and its emergency services infrastructure. EVAC provides a national guidelines manual which is the basis of most chapters' own manuals.

     Normally chapters are formed to conduct EVAC activities at an airport or group of airports at which EVAC Units will operate. The chapter works with the local community to coordinate EVAC's General Aviation emergency services in that area. Local membership rules must be non-exclusive, meeting the public service requirements and objectives of the Emergency Volunteer Air Corps.

     A minimum of three persons are required to form an initial local Board of Directors of an EVAC Chapter. There are no dues for EVAC Volunteers. Voting Members may be expected to contribute regular dues to their local Chapter, part of which goes to support the administration of EVAC. Those interested in joining EVAC or organizing the aviation community at their airport should contact EVAC at:

EVAC National Executive Office
2060 State Highway 595
Lindrith, New Mexico 87029
Business calls 575-774-0029 for use during non-emergency times
During a crisis it is better to send email to mail@evac.org - it is easier to provide a detailed reply and we can also forward the information to the best person who may be able to help you.
email:  National Office

Other EVAC email contacts:
     President Rol Murrow
     Riverside County Chapter Coordinator Bob Svoboda
     Los Angeles County/Santa Monica Bay Area Chapter Liaison  Paul Blount

     All pilots, amateur radio operators, or others wishing to participate in EVAC but not necessarily wishing to be involved in administration of a chapter should contact us and then register using the EVAC form received and they will be linked up with their local chapter. No dues are charged for those volunteering their services and equipment. All volunteers are free to make their own decisions regarding which missions, if any, they wish to fly or support.

     For all those who provide this public service, remember that efforts like these also demonstrate the exceptional value of General Aviation pilots and airplanes and help the community gain a better understanding of General Aviation's inherent flexibility and capabilities. We encourage pilots, aircraft owners, emergency workers, amateur radio enthusiasts, and other interested volunteers everywhere to register with EVAC so we know how to contact them either to help during an emergency or to learn of emergency service groups and activities in their area.

     Send an email with your name and mailing address and we will have the closest chapter or other group send you additional information. Send to our National Office.  Thank you!  

 


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