Volunteers from the Kansas Civil Air Patrol have been busy, racing against the clock delivering lab specimens.
According to the agency, the Kansas Division of Emergency Management has requested additional resources from Civil Air Patrol’s Kansas Wing to perform critical lab specimen transport, 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,” said 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.”
Wing members reported to the state’s Emergency Operations Center on March 13 to augment logistics and planning staff.
The wing has supported the state’s response to COVID-19 by transporting critical lab specimens from rural and remote 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.
CAP volunteers performed multiple lab specimen transports.
To support the mission, Civil Air Patrol has prepared a checklist for packing and shipping lab specimens. The checklist was developed by the CAP Health Services team through contacts with the U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Health Human Services and coordinated with National Headquarters staff. It was approved by CAP National Commander Maj. Gen Mark Smith, in time for Kansas Wing to support KDEM.