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MORE CAPABILITIES


CCMC’s mission capabilities even go beyond mosquito control, rescue, and law enforcement. Because much of the county is surrounded by Mother Nature’s bounty, wildfires can light up when things get dry. CCMC crews can have the MD helicopters reconfigured with a Bambi Bucket and on location for a fire in very short order, with the Airtractor 402 providing fixed-wing drops.


Finally, the unit also participates in a program called Project Lifesaver. Certain people in the community prone to getting lost, such as Alzheimer patients and some autistic children, wear special tracking wristbands. When one of them goes missing, the helicopter launches with special equipment that allows the missing person to be located. EMS and/or law enforcement can then be directed to their location.


With all the services they provide, I think the Chatham County Mosquito Control aviation unit should change their name, maybe to the Chatham County Airborne Service Unit, with the key word being “Service.” Although Yackel understands his unit’s primary mission is mosquito control, that’s not how he closes our interview. “The goal of our operation is to serve our citizens, whether it be mosquito control, search and rescue, firefighting, or law enforcement. Our citizens are the ones we want to protect.” It’s his hope that when a resident looks up and sees CCMC’s bright yellow helicopters overhead, they feel like they are getting their money’s worth in services.


Based on my 25 years of experience in the helicopter industry, I can attest that they are.


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