8-Dec-2014 Source: PSC
Manatee County on Dec. 6 will unveil a new helistop that will allow helicopters to land at the Public Safety Center in the event of a disaster.
Manatee County Emergency Management officials worked with SRQ Composite Squadron, FL-044 Florida Wing, an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, to design the helistop. The Public Safety Center is located 2101 47th Terr. E., Bradenton.
Civil Air Patrol Capt. Gary Stevens, who spearheaded the project, said high school students played a key role in designing the site for future landings. Stevens said the heliport project is the only one of its kind between local government and the Civil Air Patrol.
“Due to its location and elevation above sea level, the EOC could be heavily used by helicopters in disaster relief and is designated as an alternate helicopter base location for the USCG Air Station in St. Petersburg / Clearwater,” Stevens said. “The staff at the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) had ideas on where they wanted it. Seniors and cadets had the opportunity to work side by side to design it.”
Partners and media will have access to the helistop from 10 – 11 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 6. Emergency Management officials and public information officers will be on hand to assist and answer questions members of the media may have about the helistop.
The Civil Air Patrol developed the helistop project so that emergency response agencies can access the Public Safety Center by helicopter after a disaster.
“A helistop is an important component of an Emergency Operations Center during times of emergency,” said Emergency Management Chief Don Hermey. “In all types of disasters, helicopters can be used to assist with damage assessment, emergency food and medical supply distribution as well as emergency evacuations to name a few.
Hermey said through the assistance of the local Civil Air Patrol, a specific dedicated section of the Public Safety grounds has now been designated and registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Capt. Ben Moore is commander of the SRQ Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol.