Community disaster exercise scheduled


The South County Airport Pilot Association Disaster Airlift Response Team will be conducting an intensive emergency response to a mock earthquake on Saturday, April 7.

Organizers said this year’s scenario will simulate a large earthquake occurring at 7:30am with an epicenter near San Martin.

The emergency teams will assume that communication networks, electrical power and water service will have been cut, with Highway 101 and other regional transportation arteries impassable, preventing access for those in need of rescue, emergency medical services, water, food and transportation to emergency shelters or hospitals.

In this practice scenario, the San Martin Airport will be the designated transportation center. Providing shuttle transportation and logistics capability to assist regional disaster response efforts.

The disaster preparedness program was initiated in 1989 by local San Martin pilots after the Loma Prieta earthquake.

The California disaster network includes pilots at 15 airports, including San Martin Airport, which serves the South County.

The annual exercises are a collaborative effort involving local community volunteers, various local organizations, certificated pilots and FAA-compliant aircraft.

Exercise scenarios will include the airlifting of food, transportation of emergency workers, distribution of supplies to South County residents, sheltering and evacuation of families left homeless by the earthquake, evacuation of senior citizens living in red-tagged senior housing and Angel Flight air resources.

South County residents are welcomed to participate in this year’s exercise by driving through the distribution center, 13030 Murphy Ave., between 11am and noon on April 7, to receive a token bottle of water, and to drop off up to 100 lbs of food to be flown in the logistics portion of the exercise. Suitable food items are those with a relatively long shelf life such as pull tab canned soups, meats and vegetables, dried pasta, spaghetti sauce, hot chocolate/iced tea mix, potato flakes and coffee. At the conclusion of the exercise,, all donated food items will go to the Gilroy Compassion Center.

This year’s partners and observers include Morgan Hill and Gilroy CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams), Angel Flight West, the American Red Cross,Second Harvest Food Bank, Gilroy Compassion Center, Morgan Hill and Gilroy Emergency Operation Centers, San Martin Neighborhood Alliance, Community and Airport Partnership for Safe Operations, the Santa Clara 99s, Palo Alto Office of Emergency Services and the Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Services. The San Martin Lions Club and the Second Harvest Food Bank provided donations for this year’s exercise.