As state and federal officials from North Carolina to New England assess the damage caused by Hurricane Irene, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is assessing whether members of its Humanitarian Emergency Response Operator (HERO) Database can be of assistance in relief efforts.
“We’ll be paying close attention to those reports as they come out,” said NBAA Vice President for Safety, Security and Regulation, Doug Carr. The HERO Database was formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when it was clear the government’s response could be augmented by private relief efforts. The database is a list of people in the business aviation community who are part of disaster-response mobilization efforts. In the aftermath of major crises, basic information from the database can be provided to organizations coordinating relief efforts.
It was critical to the international humanitarian effort in Haiti last year after it was struck by a killer earthquake. The resulting airlift between the US and that island nation remains unsurpassed in the number of operations and the amount of cargo brought into the country by general aviation operators – many of them HEROs.
Carr said NBAA has been working over the past two years to familiarize government officials at all levels with the remarkably adaptable assistance business aviation operators can lend to relief efforts in the wake of a major disaster like Hurricane Irene.
“Relief can come in all shapes and sizes,” Carr pointed out. “General aviation aircraft can play a much-needed role in supporting relief efforts from larger organizations, state national guards and the federal government.”
Since the HERO database became available, some 200 business operators have volunteered to be included in it. Registering to be a HERO is easy, Carr said. “All we need to know is who you are, where you are how to reach you and what you fly,” he explained. “Registering online is simple and takes only about two minutes.”
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