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Louisiana Red Cross, Civil Air Patrol partner for upcoming hurricane season

1 month 2 days 7 hours ago Wednesday, June 12 2024 Jun 12, 2024 June 12, 2024 6:21 PM June 12, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE --The American Red Cross of Louisiana and the Louisiana Wing Civil Air Patrol officially signed a disaster relief partnership deal Wednesday morning to allow for faster and better relief across the state when powerful storms hit.

One of the key benefits of the deal is that the Civil Air Patrol units will receive disaster relief training from the Red Cross. In exchange, the Red Cross will also be able to access the CAP's mapping technology from their planes and drones.

"We have a new system we have now called Waldo, where we can actually work with FEMA. Take pictures of natural disasters and they can stitch this into Google Earth, which will sit there and show what the buildings look like before the disaster and what they look like after the disaster." Civil Air Patrol's James Viney said.

The process of creating a partnership between the two organizations started in 2020, but the idea began after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"It's two great organizations that have started in emergency services, but we we're attacking a problem from different ends and we've now finally got smart enough to combine our resources to attack the problem head on," Viney said.

The Louisiana Wing of the CAP is an official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force with around 800 members, all being civilians. Over a hundred fly or work on planes.

The CAP's collection of aircraft is mostly made up of Cessna 172 and 182 planes. These planes will allow the Red Cross to move more supplies across the state when a powerful storm hits.

"We have a warehouse facility here if supplies are needed, so the Civil Air Patrol can bring supplies, that's just an example, but we can store them and help distribute them." American Red Cross of Louisiana CEO Kenneth St. Charles said.

One of the CAP's most advanced pieces of technology is their drones. The drones are used to find hard-hit areas. The Red Cross can now use the imaging from the drones to offer aid quickly to these places.

The deal comes ahead of a what is expected to be a very active hurricane season.

"We pride ourselves on being prepared," St. Charles said.

When disaster hits, the Red Cross says they have a three step process to offering effective relief. It begins with providing shelter to people impacted by the storm, providing food and then finally offering commodities like hygiene products.

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