20 August, 2016

First Responders: Save flood victims safely – with a hovercraft

Question:  Of all natural disasters, which is the fastest growing and most costly?

Answer:  Devastating floods – like those now plaguing Louisiana – are rapidly increasing in the U.S. and across the world. From 1980 to 2009, floods caused 500,000+ deaths worldwide and affected more than 2.8 billion people.

To date, the Louisiana flood is responsible for 13 deaths and damage to more than 40,000 homes. Last weekend alone, first responders rescued more than 20,000 people and 1,000 pets. 10,000+ people are living in emergency shelters and 70,000 have registered for individual assistance. The government has declared south Louisiana a flood disaster zone.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards calls the floods “unprecedented” and “historic”. But, extensive research reveals that deadly flooding is becoming more ordinary than extraordinary. According to FEMA, the area of the U.S. at risk of floods, including inland river areas and coastal regions, will grow 45% by 2100. It’s estimated that by 2050, flooding will cost about $1,000,000,000,000 a year, and cause major damage to the 136 largest coastal cities in the world.

Current statistics support these predictions: 1) 2015 was the second wettest year on record in the U.S., and 2) In just the past year, catastrophic floods occurred in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, South Carolina, Missouri and Illinois, to name just a few.

As flood disasters increase, it’s crucial that preparedness efforts must also increase. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that every year more deaths occur in floods than in any other weather hazard. And the death toll includes first responders, as well as victims lost to failed rescue attempts.

So, another question:  In the face of increasing flood risks, how can first responders increase their ability to perform faster, safer rescues, protecting their victims as well as themselves?

Here’s the answer ...

This video of Wylie Fire-Rescue’s Neoteric Hovercraft saving lives last year in Texas’ widespread flooding shows how easily it operates in shallow, debris-filled water and has the unique maneuverability for up-close access to victims without forcing first responders to enter the water.

But the proof of the Neoteric Hovercraft’s ability to outperform other water rescue vehicles consists of far more than a single video. First responders across the world rely on the Neoteric Rescue HoverTrek™; here’s what just a few of them say about the superiority of hovercraft over boats and other water rescue vehicles …

North Muskegon Fire Department, Michigan USA
"Our hovercraft have saved more lives than all our fire engines combined. Since 1985, more than 255 people have been rescued from Muskegon area lakes using the hovercraft. More than half of them would have drowned not having the hovercraft as a safe rescue tool."

WOPR, a national water rescue organization in Poland
“Regardless of the weather, our hovercraft can fly over water, ice, mud, sand, grass or wetlands – allowing us to get to those places you can’t reach either by boat or by foot. This machine can save people under the most difficult conditions that prevent the use of a helicopter.”

Mansfield Fire Department, Texas USA:
“The benefit of having the hovercraft is we do not have to send our personnel into the water to retrieve victims. It can also hover over logs, car tires and any other debris, unlike boats that could be a hazard in flood water. A hovercraft is the answer to a faster rescue – a safer rescue.”

Central Fraser Valley Search & Rescue Society, Canada:
"The hovercraft gets us into areas that, before, we weren't able to reach, areas that our jet boat can't get into because we ingest debris into the impeller. And the hovercraft saves us a lot of time."

Council Bluffs Fire Department, Iowa USA:
"Our hovercraft can handle some of the most dangerous rescues that would otherwise be out of reach. It's the only vehicle able to operate on any surface; you can get it anywhere that basically nothing else can get to. With it, we're not sending first responders out into bad water or ice. We can go over it all with the hovercraft, grab the victim and bring them back."

As you can see, hovercraft are a critical rescue apparatus for flood rescue operations. They’re able to access areas that boats, airboats and even helicopters can’t reach. Flat bottom Jon Boats and other propeller-driven watercraft are of little use in flood water or shallow water. Debris and obstructions can not only damage rescue boats, but can pose a lethal danger to first responders and to flood victims whose lives they are tasked to save.

And the Neoteric Rescue Hovercraft, with its exclusive reverse thrust, greatly tops the maneuverability of other models, allowing you to back up, spin and hover in place. Flying 9 inches above the surface, the HoverTrek™ performs in debris-filled, shallow and fast-flowing flood water and allows rapid up-close access to victims, keeping first responders above the danger - not in it.

In dangerous flood waters, there’s no better way to save lives safely – or to keep rescuers from becoming the rescued.

Experience for yourself how a hovercraft saves lives safely …