Next up in the news our good friends at Acadian ambulance have been working hard in the early days last week getting ready for this hurricane to strike. They were working hard getting people at risk transported. This included nursing home patients, hospital patients, elderly patients who needed an ambulance or wheelchair van transport out of danger areas to areas where there was safe shelter or care.
Hurricane Evacuation Logistics
Logistically this was a challenge because not only do you have patients with a variety of medical problems, you have to get them to some distant facility or nursing home that you may not be familiar with. I’ve had some of them before on the podcast and they’re a fantastic service in Louisiana and I believe also the Texas area and they have they provided great service. This is a great article about evacuating one hundred fifty patients from local facilities and taking them to comparable facilities in Lafayette, Baton Rouge and other areas of Louisiana to provide care and get them away from the initial strike area of the hurricane.
It goes back hand-in-hand with the previous news article talking about emergency preparedness and mutual aid assistance and suspension of certain rules and laws, things like licensure requirements for emergency responders. This type of evacuation is also an important part of the planning process because these people now need to get back to their homes and local facilities after the hurricane has passed. We’re now talking about the cleanup and recovery process and in some cases, out of state units may be involved in returning these patients to their homes.
EMS Families and Preparedness
While I’m talking about disaster preparedness and about how the people should be prepared, how prepared are you and your family for a disaster situation? Do you have your disaster kit ready to go? In this type of emergency, we’re talking about people being self-sufficient for the first 48 to 72 hours, those first three days. People are responsible to have enough supplies in their home to allow them to be self-sufficient with enough food, enough water, enough medications to subsist for three days in place. Sheltering in place is a time honored tradition in emergency preparedness. People who are not required to evacuate can better help themselves by being ready to do this.
In the same way, local responders need to be able to stay in gear and get things done the first 2 to 3 days until emergency agencies begin to arrive from outlying areas and begin to provide assistance. Some may arrive in the first 24 hours, but ultimately being prepared for three days means you can or will have to deal with most of the problems. Then, when more help arrives, you can start dealing with the bigger issues that needed to be put on the back burner until more help arrives. It’s like community-wide triage and planning.
Comparing Isaac to Katrina
I know when you compare this response to the FEMA response for Katrina, I know that FEMA was already responding to this event by setting up staging areas outside of the hurricane strike zone. These staging areas get them a little bit closer to these areas. Then waiting for the hurricane to go by where they can and mobilize resources that have been gathered in one place close by the central Gulf Coast. This is definitely a better response plan, or at least a better communicated response plan for this event.
What do you think about the local and Federal response to this event. Have you been part of this relief effort? Leave a comment below or shoot me an email at Podmedic@mac.com. I want to hear from you!
Find the links for this article and the rest of this week’s show at – West Nile Virus Interview and Episode 298.