The Torrance Disaster Airlift Response Team (T-DART) participated in the San Francisco Bay Area Catastrophic Earthquake Airlift Exercise on Saturday, October 26. The California Disaster Airlift Response Team (CalDART) organized the exercise to simulate response to a 7.9 quake centered on the Golden Gate Bridge that caused widespread damage from Monterey to well north of San Francisco. It was expected that there would be substantial damage to roadways, bridges, overpasses and tunnels, which would make the regional freeway system largely unusable. Limited routes would accessible deep into the disaster zone; buildings and homes would collapse, and 1.8 million households would lose running water. 500,000 households would be without electricity, 5 million people would need bottled water or another potable water source, 300,000 people would need shelter, and 330,000 would require evacuation.
The exercise scenario involved T-DART and 6 other CalDART Operators in Northern California. T-DART's missions included flights to local Southern California airports to pick up key medical supplies and specialists as well as two long-distance missions to deliver those supplies and personnel to the disaster area. These missions demonstrated the ability of the CalDART organization to request support from operators around the state when they are needed to respond to any emergency.
Overall, the exercise involved 6 DART Operators, 9 airports, 120 volunteers, and 45 pilots. A total of 56 flights were made to transport 21 passengers and 2,384 pounds of supplies. Other organizations participating were:
Ironically, a true emergency in the form of extensive brush fires erupted that morning in both Northern and Southern California. Although the local T-DART missions in the Los Angeles area were unaffected, the two flights to Northern California were unable to complete their missions due to heavy smoke in the central valley and coast. California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) was in contact with CalDART during the exercise in case they needed REAL airlift support for the fire emergency.
T-DART has achieved operational status with CalDART.