Voluntary agency joins forces with council to help out in an emergency

We have teamed up with registered charity Sky Watch Civil Air Patrol (SWCAP) to be our eyes in the sky in the event of an emergency.

SWCAP members are trained pilots who volunteer their time and aircraft to take to the skies during an emergency, such as flooding. They can provide authorities with invaluable information such as aerial reconnaissance and photographs to help agencies in making vital decisions on how to aid those affected.

Officers from our Emergency Planning Unit met with Chris Borchardt, Unit Chief Pilot of the local Sky Watch unit at the Avon & Somerset Local Resilience Forum which brings agencies such as local authorities and the emergency services together to coordinate a response in the event of an incident. A good relationship was established resulting in a signed memorandum of understanding to work with us to provide assistance in the event of an emergency.

Emergency Planning Manager Simon Hailwood said: “As emergency planners, our role is to ensure that the council is prepared to respond to emergencies within South Gloucestershire that could affect us and our residents. We also have a role in helping others outside our boundaries as part of mutual aid arrangements. We work with a number of organisations including the emergency services and voluntary agencies to respond, help and provide advice to communities should an emergency occur within South Gloucestershire. We are delighted that Chris has signed a memorandum of understanding on behalf of Sky Watch allowing us to call on them should the need arise.”

Chris Borchardt, an experienced commercial pilot working for South Gloucestershire based Executive Aircraft Charter Company A 2 B Air Charters has been appointed as the Gloucestershire & Severn Civil Air Patrol Unit Chief Pilot covering our region.

Chris said: “It’s great to have joined forces with South Gloucestershire Council to form part of the emergency response team. Our organisation was formed in 2000 with a mission to promote for the benefit of the public, the saving of life and the preservation and protection of people and property, the use of aerial observation over land and water.”

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