The U.S. Civil Air Patrol In Vermont, the civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is standing by for approaching Hurricane Irene. At a weekly meeting held at the Rutland Southern Vermont Reginal Airport Aug. 25, volunteer members of the CAP's Rutland Composite Squadron were briefed on the looming hurricane and its projected northerly path into New England.
Maj. Michael Davidson, Vermont CAP wing commander, said Vermont CAP squadrons may be called upon to assist in regional coastal areas as well as in Vermont, depending on the storm's intensity. Davidson said he had completed a teleconference Thursday with other northeastern CAP leaders to assess this potentially hazardous situation.
In particular, Davidson noted that CAP officials in Rhode Island were planning to move the organization's aircraft assets inland, away from the path of the approaching storm.
"Irene is expected to reach Vermont on Sunday," Davidson said.
By the time it reaches Vermont, Irene will likely be downgraded to tropical storm status, but winds could range between 30 and 70 miles per hour, he said.
Davidson said CAP's might be tasked to provide electronic photography of storm damage to aid utilities and emergency agencies in better allocating resources—if there's significant damage here.
"Power outages, downed trees, and flooded roads are a big concern," Davidson stressed.
In the meantime, he advised Vermonters to be prepared.
"Make a plan," Davidson said. "Remove or secure backyard items such as summer furniture, etc. Also, have bottled drinking water on hand. If there are power outages you may be without lights and refrigeration. Always take care of yourself first before helping others. Keep an eye on elderly neighbors and those that may need help in a disaster."
Civil Air Patrol members are among the first on the scene with vital disaster site images, received via satellite within seconds. CAP also provides relief and emergency services following natural and manmade disasters. The all-volunteer organization was a significant part of the emergency response to 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. The organization is also tasked with humanitarian missions along the U.S. and Mexican border.