About 50 Civil Air Patrol members from five wings gathered at the Tennessee Wing headquarters on April 28-29 to participate in training to hone emergency response skills for disaster relief and search and rescue operations.
The training was focused on a tool developed by CAP and the National Guard called the Domestic Operations Awareness and Assessment Response Tool or DAART. It is a system that allows wireless delivery of video or photo images from aircraft or ground teams in the field.
Tennessee Wing's Director of Operations, Maj Rob Borsari, said CAP members from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and North Carolina wings attended the class. The training which included classroom instruction and practice using the system in both aircraft and ground vehicles was held in the Tennessee Wing Headquarters at McGhee Tyson Airport in Alcoa.
"The number of members who came out for the DAART training was very encouraging," said Col. Barry Melton, Southeast Region commander. "DAART is an emerging imagery technology for CAP and itís very important that our members are given the opportunity to become proficient."
The technology allows emergency management teams instant access to video of events, location tracking and communications with the teams and ability to transfer still images.
This capability gives an unprecedented ability for the users of the video and images to review and provide feedback during the collection of the data. Real-time feedback can make the difference between getting images and video from the needed angles and areas on the first try.
Tennessee Wing's Lt Col Ande Boyer, who served as the operations section chief of the event, said the goal was to expand CAP's pool of qualified DAART operators in anticipation of the Federal Emergency Management Agency exercise, Ardent Sentry, in May.
"This year, the exercise is geographically centered around the mid-Atlantic coast simulating a hurricane coming to shore in the Carolina's, working its way inland impacting the mid-Atlantic and mid-South," Boyer said.
Lt Col Al Van Lengen, Southeast Region's deputy chief of staff for operations, said members learned how the DAART tool provides imagery, video, geospatial information and more to teams at the federal, state and local levels.
"We cannot prevent a major catastrophe, but in an organization like this, we have volunteers who sacrifice their personal time, weekends and family to prepare themselves to support our country and their communities in time of need," he said.