ETX first responders deploy to Hurricane Harvey

Beth Powell, the Emergency Management Task Force Coordinator for Region 4, said the state asked them to activate assets from several Texas regions.

East Texas emergency agencies spent all day Thursday, Aug. 24 working on state and national levels to funnel resources to the areas expected to be in hurricane Harvey's path.

An AMBUS bus was deployed from Hopkins county today, which is a 20-passenger ambulance bus staffed with 6 personnel.

Beth Powell, the Emergency Management Task Force Coordinator for Region 4, said the state asked them to activate assets from several Texas regions.

"Currently en route to staging we have 5 AMBUSES and 5 ambulance strike teams,” Powell said. “Plus multiple medical incident support team members, about 24 of those.”

She said they are headed to the AT&T Center in san Antonio where the staging is being held.

From there they will be directed different emergency operations centers down along the coast.

One of those strike teams has members from East Texas who deployed close to 5 p.m., consisting of 2 ETMC EMS ambulances, 1 from Titus county, 1 from Champion and 1 from Fairfield.

Ed Brando is the division Chief for ETMC EMS and said once they check in at San Antonio, they probably receive orders quickly after.

He said they have deployed to natural disasters like Katrina and Gustav, and many times, evacuation is the most immediate need.

"We’ve gone into a town before where there were a lot of bedfast patients that couldn't ride in a car or van or anything so we were attached to a local fire department who had a list of these people,” Brando said. “We loaded them up, took them to the airport and they flew to another shelter."

He said while they are away, extra personnel will be called in to fill-in at home.

North Texas Red Cross also sent 2 emergency response vehicles to South Texas from the metropolitan area
Meanwhile, the Smith County Chapter of the Red Cross is preparing to accommodate possible evacuees and potential flooding from the hurricane.

Matthew Brown, the Disaster Program Manager, said they sent readiness messaging to their volunteer base, which is more than 350 strong.

They also contacted asked administrators of local schools, churches and community buildings, to get ready should be they needed.

"We also put feeding assets on standby all throughout the North Texas region to support any response,” Brown said. “We are also ready to take any drive-up evacuees that may come up here as well."

He advised the community to take general preparedness steps like building a kit, making an evacuation plan, and being informed on how you can help.

He asked East Texans to keep a close eye on the forecast because of how fast the hurricane is developing.
 

© 2017 KYTX-TV


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