Coast Guard air crews and health service technicians are briefed at Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater before a C-130 flight to Andros Island in preparation for Hurricane Dorian response, Sept. 2, 2019. The Coast Guard prestages and relocates personnel and assets to be able to have a rapid post-storm response. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Ayla Kelley.)
Coast Guard air crews and health service technicians are briefed at Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater before a C-130 flight to Andros Island in preparation for Hurricane Dorian response, Sept. 2, 2019. The Coast Guard prestages and relocates personnel and assets to be able to have a rapid post-storm response. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Ayla Kelley.)

U.S. Coast Guard heads to Bahamas for Hurricane Dorian rescue operation

A U.S. Coast Guard C-130 took off early Tuesday morning from the air station in Clearwater heading to the Bahamas where several islands were severely damaged.

The Hercules aircraft was loaded with medics, known as health services technicians in the Coast Guard, along with their professional equipment and vital supplies.

Coast Guard air crews and health service technicians are briefed at Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater before a C-130 flight to Andros Island in preparation for Hurricane Dorian response, Sept. 2, 2019. The Coast Guard prestages and relocates personnel and assets to be able to have a rapid post-storm response. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Ayla Kelley.)
Coast Guard air crews and health service technicians are briefed at Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater before a C-130 flight to Andros Island in preparation for Hurricane Dorian response, Sept. 2, 2019. The Coast Guard prestages and relocates personnel and assets to be able to have a rapid post-storm response. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Ayla Kelley.)

They are being flown to Andros Island in the Bahamas which is the staging point for the helicopters conducting rescue operations in the Bahamas. There, four helicopters from Air Station Clearwater are conducting search and rescue operations in the areas most severely affected by Hurricane Dorian.

Petty Officer Ayla Kelley, a Coast Guard public affairs official stationed at Clearwater, reported 19 people had been transported by helicopter to Nassau International Airport for transfer to medical facilities.

Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater forward deployed MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews medevac seven critical patients from the Marsh Harbour Clinic to Nassau, Bahamas for further medical care. As Hurricane Dorian makes it way across the Bahamas, the Coast Guard is ready to assist as needed. (U.S. Coast Guard photo).
Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater forward deployed MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews medevac seven critical patients from the Marsh Harbour Clinic to Nassau, Bahamas for further medical care. As Hurricane Dorian makes it way across the Bahamas, the Coast Guard is ready to assist as needed. (U.S. Coast Guard photo).

Kelley added, “Operations will continue working with Bahamian forces for at least the next few days, but it depends on what Dorian does. We also have plans in place to shift support to the U.S. depending on the effects of the storm.”

In Southwest Florida, preparations continue where Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach has set Hurricane Condition 2.Condition of Readiness (COR) two means that “destructive force winds (50 mph) are forecast within 24 hours.”

Meanwhile, the station is on standby and ready to augment any affected units as necessary.

“We have boats and supplies packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice to support operations in affected areas,” explained Petty Officer Dillon Durando. “Our 29-foot boats can go anywhere on a trailer and if necessary, we can move the 45-foot response boats to the east coast through Lake Okeechobee.”

RB-S Boat (Coast Guard Station Fort Myers)
RB-S Boat (Coast Guard Station Fort Myers)
He says both active duty and reserve members would be tasked to deploy and Coast Guard Auxiliary members would be available to stand watch and provide administrative support at Station Fort Myers.

“The Coast Guard is an adaptable and flexible organization and this is what we train to do,” said Durando.

Hurricane Condition 2 requires personnel to do some of the following tasks:

  • Ensure boats, vehicles and spare fuel containers are full.
  • Ensure both 45’ RBM(response boat medium) have enough food and water for at least 2 days and confirm safe havens
  • Coordinate transport both trailerable 29’ RBS2(response boat small) to separate safe havens
  • Account for all active duty and reserves and their dependents
  • Recall personnel as needed
  • Maintain detailed plot of storm
  • Determine CG Auxiliary role before and after storm.
  • Move all computers/records up from ground floor.
  • Secure station building and grounds, stow/secure all loose equipment, inspect palm trees/vegetation for missile hazards
  • Inspect facilities and confirm unit ready for landfall

For more news from the U.S. Coast Guard (Southeast), click here.

Reporter:Rich Kolko
Writer:Briana Harvath
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