Seaplanes could help save lives if big quake hits Seattle area

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by GLENN FARLEY / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @GlennFarley

KING5.com

Posted on October 6, 2012 at 5:14 PM

Updated Saturday, Oct 6 at 10:18 PM

The Kenmore Air dock at the north end of Lake Washington could go from airport to triage station.

In an emergency, pilots would fly injured patients from other places around Western Washington here so they could be transferred to larger aircraft and flown to hospitals east of the Cascades with room to take them.

On Saturday, seaplane pilots prepared for the big earthquake, which would knock out bridges, roads and even runways.

A seaplane could still get around where there's water. Many are also equipped to land on runways.

“I'm trying to see how much of a viable source this is and how we could utilize this in the event we have a disaster within the City of Seattle,” said Lt. Eric Grant, Seattle Fire Dept. Station 6 

The Seattle Fire Department is just one agency that wants to find out more about what seaplanes can do.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Washington National Guard were there to help.

“We provide resources for local communities if they ever ran out, particularly communications assets,” said Monte Simpson, Radio Liaison, Washington State Guard.

Since the seaplane pilots held a large fly in at Lake Whatcom back in May, pilots in Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia are looking to join forces. Washington pilots are also in contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“What I would like to see that's already starting to occur, is this integrated into this state's emergency response plan, And also into Oregon's response plan,” said Sky Terry.

Terry leads the Emergency Seaplane Response Plan in a race against time, getting pilots and their planes ready, before disaster comes knocking

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