Friday, May 2, 2014

On-Site Refueling and Disaster Response

Disaster response is nothing short of an essential skill governments around the world have to develop and hone. In the U.S., hurricanes such as Katrina, had put disaster response agencies, namely the United States Air Force, to the ultimate test. Aircraft capable of search and rescue, as well as airlift operations in disaster areas, were tapped as they were badly needed.

However, with most of the USAF's assets conducting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the pool of available aircraft wasn't enough to cover every affected area. Civilian aircraft had to pitch in into disaster relief operations to compensate for this. They worked day and night to help as many victims as possible with the resources available.

The operations required tons of fuel; the hurricane cut much of Louisiana off from vital gas and oil supplies. Fortunately, emergency fuel services were called in to provide military and civilian aircraft with much needed fuel for sustained operations. In many cases, the aircraft were "refueled hot" or refueled with the engines on to get back to the rescue effort quickly.

The airlift operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina would go on to become the largest deployment of military forces for a civil support mission in U.S. history. Out of more than 12,000 helicopter sorties, it rescued 15,000 citizens and ferried 80,000 out of disaster zones. Thanks to on-site fuel services keeping the sorties all tanked up, Katrina's damage was mitigated.


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