Meanwhile, the Helicopter Association of Australia (HAA) has set up a disaster committee that will help local and international agencies quickly pinpoint the helicopter resources nearest to disaster areas.
HAA president Rob Rich explained, “The committee will have access to HAA and other emergency service agency databases, so we can identify the key players from the 1,800 civil helicopters in the Australia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand regions. Once we have the data, we can e-mail it to those seeking help.”
Project leader Rosemarie McRae said that while the area is well served with government agencies that maintain databases for search-and-rescue, medical and firefighting missions, “they are often very regionalized and have a limited ability to react to a disaster such as the tsunami in Asia.”
HAA officer Dan Tyler believes the database should include more than pilots and engineers and “consider medical and rescue crewmembers, trained observers, ground handlers, those qualified to establish and supervise temporary heliports, lighting and marking equipment, communications specialists, refuelers and refueling equipment and so on. Our database should provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ for Australian authorities and international aid agencies with regard to helicopter support.”