Kansas Wing volunteers expand efforts to help with state's COVID-19 response

SALINA, Kan. (KWCH) -- A team that takes to the sky to perform missions across Kansas and the U.S. answered a call from the Kansas Division of Emergency Management (KDEM). KDEM requests additional resources from Civil Air Patrol's Kansas Wing to transport critical lab specimen as part of the agency's "integrated and rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic."

The Kansas Wing made additional resources and personnel available to be tasked as part of the transport mission, including vehicles and aircraft. "Our capable volunteers are always willing to serve when needed," says Wing Commander Col. Linette Lahan. "For several years now, our volunteers have transported blood for the American Red Cross, and we welcome this new opportunity to serve as our state responds to this health crisis."

On March 13, Wing members reported to Kansas' Emergency Operations Center to augment logistics and planning staff," Civil Air Patrol says. As of March 20, Kansas Wing's support in the state's response to COVID-19 includes transporting lab specimens from rural and remote areas to KDEM's laboratory in Topeka.

"These transports are important since reaching the areas to KDEM’s laboratory in Topeka. These transports are important since reaching the lab with specimens is often a race against the clock. To be effective, the specimens must be delivered to the lab within 48 hours as the tests are only viable for 72 hours," Civil Air Patrol says.

"(Civil Air Patrol) volunteers performed multiple lab specimen transports over the weekend (March 21 and 22) and will continue to provide that service as needed," the patrol says.

The patrol says it prepared a checklist, developed by its health services team with the U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Health Human Service and coordinated with National Headquarters staff, for packing and shipping specimens.