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Author Topic: CAP's Non-Response to Harvey  (Read 3090 times)
Fubar
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 620

« on: August 27, 2017, 10:56:43 PM »

I'm sure I'm not alone in having my local paper filled with articles for the past few days about the Red Cross volunteers, Salvation Army volunteers, national urban search and rescue teams, national guard units, disaster medical assistance teams, and even ham radio guys that are in or headed to Houston.

We've got time for a convention that's adjacent to the hurricane.

Hopefully the brain wizards that descend on San Antonio will dedicate some time to discuss what we can do as an organization to be more of a resource in our country's time of need. Or, perhaps decide that's not in our wheelhouse and remove stuff like this from our marketing:

Quote
Disaster Relief                               
Another important service CAP performs is disaster-relief operations. CAP provides air and ground transportation and an extensive communications network. Volunteer members fly disaster-relief officials to remote locations and provide manpower and leadership to local, state and national disaster-relief organizations. CAP has formal agreements with many government and humanitarian relief agencies including the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Every agency listed has responded to Harvey. None apparently needed our help so far.

Even if they did, would we be able to? Do we have a sufficient number of pilots to handle a high-tempo sustained operation? Are ground teams sufficiently trained to wade into a very dangerous situation alongside the professional ground teams FEMA has sent in? Is our communications infrastructure capable of providing comms everywhere we need to hear from?

As CAP shrinks, our ELT missions fade away, and our aircraft fleet size gets smaller, it's time to formally decide what we want to do.
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etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 853

« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2017, 11:00:02 PM »

How many of those others agencies you mention depend on so many teenagers for the ground work? The teens are a big part of our chartered  mission, but greatly hinders  our ability in many areas to 'pick up and go'.
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etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 853

« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2017, 11:05:58 PM »

We have quite a large fleet of small planes that could fly in small loads of supplies in a continuous stream from the surrounding states. Single pilot crew transport flights to maximize payload. Even in a C-172, with average pilot size, you could fill it with nearly 400 pounds of supplies per flight. A couple dozen planes flying just one flight per day each,  could get quite a few tons of supplies into some of these areas in short order.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 11:19:51 PM by etodd » Logged
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PHall
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 5,864

« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2017, 11:43:20 PM »

We only go when we are requested. WE DO NOT SELF DEPLOY. FEMA knows what we can do.
Disaster Relief is our job and it happens during the recovery effort.
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SarDragon
Global Moderator

Posts: 10,061
Unit: NAVAIRPAC

« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2017, 11:49:52 PM »

Flying in supplies when the weather still sucks is inefficient at best. They can't be brought directly to where they are needed most, so long distance ground transport will still be required.
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Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
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etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 853

« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2017, 11:52:29 PM »

We only go when we are requested. WE DO NOT SELF DEPLOY. FEMA knows what we can do.
Disaster Relief is our job and it happens during the recovery effort.

I didn't say 'self deploy'. I was just thinking out loud what we could be doing once weather clears a bit.

FEMA 'knows' we can do AP, and I'm sure we will have a couple crews or more flying that. But FEMA just might not be knowledgeable about our full capabilities. Has Hdqs ever sold them on supplies transport as I mentioned above, for example? Maybe they have and FEMA isn't interested. But other agencies handling relief in some of the outlying cities might be excited to hear about us (as FEMA concentrates on Houston).

I don't know ... just thinking out loud. Would be interesting to know what Hdqs does push out there marketing wise besides AP for this type of disaster.

And truly seems sad if we have dozens of planes and pilots 'standing down' when some organization would be happy to see us.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2017, 12:10:00 AM by etodd » Logged
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Eclipse
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Posts: 27,996

« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2017, 12:32:58 AM »

24 planes times 400 = 9600.

A C17 can haul 170,900 lbs in one flight, and last I checked, the US has lots of those,
not to mention 130's, commercial cargo planes, helicopters, etc., and my understanding
is pretty much anywhere a Cessna could land, so could a 130 or a C17, and in far worse conditions.

This will be one more incident on the hit parade where the response is late, short, and disjointed,
emphasizing again that CAP does not even >have< a DR doctrine, nor a major incident response plan,
let alone the manpower to execute one.

If history informs the future, there will be a lot of emails floating around with instructions
to "check your gear" and units/groups/wings doing "readiness checks" without enough
detail to actually respond in a meaningful way, (most volunteers can't provide open-ended
readiness without details of where and how long) then nothing for a while, then
frantic calls to deploy immediately mid-day on a Tuesday to drive 17 hours with no logistical
support, a bare-minimum team, and no real mission plan.  Some will spin up, then be told
to "hold for instructions", and then it will be a cluster of emails and calls trying to
figure out who is in charge, where to go, and who is paying for it.

More then a few people will burn vacation time, spend a lot of their own money (expecting
reimbursements that never come), and make great effort to sit in an ICP somewhere with
no tasking because the local people don't even know they are there.

A few outside the immediate DA will go because the stars aligned on them personally, not
through any structured preparedness, and the rest will sit and watch TV, gear packed by the
door, again, to hear nothing, go nowhere, but still keep telling work and family "any time now".

CAP has never been, nor is it capable now, of being a national deployment force. What capabilities
it has are focused around local response by day-players who can get a few days off work, and when those
rare few are depleted, there's no second wave.

Moving aircraft regionally, let alone nationally, is a logistical nightmare most members don't understand.
Assuming you can get past 8 regions and 52 wings of special instructions, approvals, and the NOC, there's
still the non-trivial issues of duty days, range, and how many planes are actually operational for cross-country
flying.  Plus, every plane you send is one less at home, reducing an already stressed fleet for normal ops.

Getting them home, often without the "get-there" pilots, is even worse.

For better or worse, these situations are now cash-cows for professional resources and contractors who will
fill-in where local people are stretched beyond capacity and need help.  The places where CAP can get involved,
assuming there are even relationships to begin with, shrink every year.  There are always anecdotal successes,
but on the mean, and strategically, very little CAP can do better, even at the rate of "free crews".

This will almost certainly be the first major disaster incident where UAVs are a factor in searching the DA.
People need boats, or have to wait until the water subsides to go looking.  An inexpensive, consumer-friendly
UAV, with a good operator, can be doing house-to house checks as soon as the wind is calm enough.

Be prepared for lots of photos and stories of members, especially cadets, with wet, GES-only 101 cards handing out water
and helping clear out flooded homes.  Those just make the people who spend their time and money training
ask what the point of the certifications are when clearly anyone can throw on a vest and help when the
water is actually rising.

Has it been mentioned that CAP has no DR doctrine, nor the manpower to execute one?
« Last Edit: August 28, 2017, 01:04:52 AM by Eclipse » Logged

"Effort" does not equal "results".
The contents of this post are Copyright 2017 by eclipse. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 853

« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2017, 12:53:32 AM »

Good response Eclipse.

Mind if I copy and paste that into our recruiting materials we hand out? Maybe add it to our website? Give folks a bit of reality? LOL

Maybe we really ARE just a bunch of folks who like to wear purdy, starched uniforms with meaningless bling. ;)
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Eclipse
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« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2017, 01:02:53 AM »

Until people in positions of leadership accept the reality of the situation, nothing will change.
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The contents of this post are Copyright 2017 by eclipse. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

Matthew Congrove
Recruit

Posts: 23

« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2017, 01:45:01 AM »

How can you classify anything as a "non-response" while the disaster is still on-going?

Presumably all the aircraft in the area were relo'd west; do you suggest those aircrews hop in their C172 and fight through IFR and the SIGMET to a flooded airport? Do you suggest we send ground teams out when the only reliable method of rescue at this time is either boat or helo hoists? Most of our members in the Houston area are just as stuck as everyone else, and sending outside folks in while the danger is still coming is an awful idea.

I have never been under the impression that as a CAP member I would be out in the middle of a HURR/TS doing fast-water rescues with the fire department; I don't think anyone else in CAP is, either.

We will do AP, we will do high-bird, we will do ground teams for a variety of tasks, we will do something to assist just like all those other agencies. Rest assured that TXWG and NHQ are preparing to deploy the moment Harvey drifts away. We have staff sitting with the State Guard, Nat'l Guard, and at the Texas SOC as I type. And yes, we are having our annual conference right next door, and that's where the ICP will be next week.

I understand your overall point, and I wish I could get in my truck and head there right now, too; 75% of my unit is willing to ditch work and do the same. But as long as I've been in CAP, this is not the timeframe during which we respond.

Also, what Eclipse said  ;D
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Maj. Matthew Congrove, CAP

Cicero
Forum Regular

Posts: 105

« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2017, 04:14:44 AM »

https://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/2017/aug/27/fema-arranges-aid-texas-louisiana/
FEMA arranges aid in Texas, Louisiana

The Civil Air Patrol is providing aircraft, vehicles, and personnel to accomplish aerial and ground imaging, damage assessments, and transportation of personnel and light cargo.


https://www.financial-planning.com/opinion/hurricane-harvey-prepare-your-firm-for-natural-disaster
Voices Hurricane Harvey: Prepare your firm for natural disaster
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LTC Don
Seasoned Member

Posts: 354
Unit: MER-NC-143

JoCo CAP
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2017, 08:58:04 AM »

How many of those others agencies you mention depend on so many teenagers for the ground work? The teens are a big part of our chartered  mission, but greatly hinders  our ability in many areas to 'pick up and go'.

In terms of Ground Operations --

Rule Number 1:
Cadet Programs is NOT Emergency Services, and Emergency Services is NOT Cadet Programs. 

Most broken rule in Civil Air Patrol:
Rule Number 1.

As a former Wing DR guy, it breaks my heart to see something like Harvey happen (as we speak), and hear NOTHING about mobilizing the thousands of CAP members out there that want to help.

To see the now viral picture of the elderly trapped in the nursing home, with water up to their waists, and the desperate pleas for more and more boats, and to know CAP is so risk averse to any real ground operations (because of the fear little Jimmy might get hurt), is just.......depressing.

Among other cultural issues, it has been our downfall.


There was a time when............
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Gill Rob Wilson #1891
TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 884

« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2017, 09:28:19 AM »

In terms of Ground Operations --

Rule Number 1:
Cadet Programs is NOT Emergency Services, and Emergency Services is NOT Cadet Programs. 

Most broken rule in Civil Air Patrol:
Rule Number 1.

As a former Wing DR guy, it breaks my heart to see something like Harvey happen (as we speak), and hear NOTHING about mobilizing the thousands of CAP members out there that want to help.

To see the now viral picture of the elderly trapped in the nursing home, with water up to their waists, and the desperate pleas for more and more boats, and to know CAP is so risk averse to any real ground operations (because of the fear little Jimmy might get hurt), is just.......depressing.

Among other cultural issues, it has been our downfall.


There was a time when............

This.

Setting up a donation cache and collecting clothes, food, and other relief items to be distributed, or having a bottled water stand, is within the purview of any CAP unit to run without higher-level oversight.

It's not feasible, or responsible, to take minors and have them go around in 15 inches of water "rescuing" people. Most CAP members aren't even trained to do that. They've spent so much time coddled in their own little world of ES training in a metropark to locate a transmitter, or even training solely on local airfields, than to suit up in and conduct operations in disaster areas.

This isn't to knock the important ELT-finding work that those guys and gals train for, and sometimes get called up for. But CAP, in most cases, is not trained for the "big job." I don't know if that's due to funding, a lack of interest, or a lack of will of people to go out and actually do it. Way too many CAP members are "all talk;" they act like they're these highly qualified SAR dogs and they wouldn't be able to handle Houston.

Is CAP able to do it? That's the question. Before you want to be deployed, are you capable of the job?

When I say "you," I don't mean anyone in particular on this forum. Just generally speaking.

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Fubar
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 620

« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2017, 10:43:30 AM »

How can you classify anything as a "non-response" while the disaster is still on-going?

Waiting until after the disaster is over to create a response plan for people and planes seems a bit late. Everyone else is on the way or already there performing their stated missions. Doesn't make sense that our involvement is so minimal we're holding a conference right outside the affected area. I've been getting Red Cross emails since news of the Harvey broke, taking stock of what we have, who is available to respond, and running checks to ensure we're qualified for what we're asking to do. I haven't heard a peep from my unit/group/wing/region/NHQ emergency services folks.

While other organizations see the response to the Houston area as being so monumental that assets are responding from all over the country, Texas wing is able to handle the entire CAP response to this disaster? Doesn't add up. It's certainly good that TXWG will be providing some support, it's just too bad we couldn't increase that support by bringing in resources from 51 other wings (like say the Red Cross or even the Southern Baptists do).

As others have said for better than I can, the reason we're not going is we're not prepared for disaster response. There's no training, no doctrine, and no plans for either. These types of disasters become blank-check-all-hands-on-deck FEMA responses, yet CAP can't seem to do more than do some AP sorties. Which is also likely all we're capable of right now.

When you read articles like this one about NY TF1 responding, I don't see how CAP could ever be a player in ground support past handing out water bottles:

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2017/08/27/fdny-crew-heads-to-texas-to-help-with-hurricane-harvey-rescues/

In fact, it looks like several of the FEMA SAR teams are responding:

http://www.firehouse.com/news/12363165/rescue-teams-from-across-the-county-respond-to-tx

It would take a lot of money, training, and people to be able to jump into that kind of action.

Perhaps having a conference where attendees had to drive around (hopefully nobody is silly enough to drive through) affected areas to get there will prompt a discussion about why we're not being more helpful. Or everyone will remain worried about their mess dress for the rubber chicken dinner, who knows.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2017, 10:56:04 AM »

There was a time when............

Was there, really?  Because if so it is at least two decades past.

We joke about the photos in Nat Geo and how things have changed sine the 50's, but seriously,
how much of that is sepia memories, and how much is true?

Sure, there may have been more people and resources, but that just makes brute-force, last minute
efforts a little easier, one of the reasons the lack of any strategic plans exposes the potholes so much quicker
in CAP, but beyond anecdotal / circumstantial successes, how much of any of the hype was real?
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The contents of this post are Copyright 2017 by eclipse. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

Luis R. Ramos
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,523

« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2017, 10:56:19 AM »

Comparing apples and oranges.

Show me responses from all-volunteer agencies.

DO NOT post the New York FDNY or Task Force responders.

All NYC emergency agencies like FDNY are a 24-7-12 operation. New York City also has an overseeing management operation that again runs 24-7-12 basis!

It is easier to plan and designate when you are on duty at 4:00 AM, or have a team on duty all day and night!

Once CAP runs a 24-7-12 operation, it will be valid comparisons.

Same with the Red Cross. Not all their responders are volunteers. SOME are PAID, and they have crews 24-7-12.

 ???
« Last Edit: August 28, 2017, 11:09:43 AM by Luis R. Ramos » Logged

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Jester
Seasoned Member

Posts: 223

« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2017, 11:02:35 AM »

So how do you fix it?  Is it even doable with our capabilities, either desired or real? 

Or is it just mission creep to justify our existence, and therefore we can quietly edit it out before someone more visible than this post asks why we say we can do it without being anywhere close to it in reality?

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Panzerbjorn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 277
Unit: MER-NC-048

« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2017, 11:05:30 AM »

Wait until the weather clears a bit.  FEMA will flood (no pun intended) CAP with AP requests as that is something we as an organization do REALLY well for disaster relief.

Send ground teams in immediately? Even during Katrina, CAP ground teams were not the first ines in doing house to house searches.

I'd be willing to bet, though, that CAP has a presence at the State EOC.
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Major
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stillamarine
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Unit: SER-AL-134

« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2017, 11:13:28 AM »

CAP is already in the State EOC and preparing to assist as needed.
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Tim Gardiner, 1st LT, CAP

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etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 853

« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2017, 11:25:19 AM »


Setting up a donation cache and collecting clothes, food, and other relief items to be distributed, or having a bottled water stand, is within the purview of any CAP unit to run without higher-level oversight.

PLEASE read this before setting up any facility to collect goods. Its important:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/when-disaster-relief-brings-anything-but-relief/
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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Emergency Services & Operations  |  Topic: CAP's Non-Response to Harvey
 


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