SPRINGFIELD — With lives in danger in Florida, emergency response crews from here at home are working to help in any way they can.
When Hurricane Michael hit Florida, it left behind of death and mass property loss, putting the pressure on emergency crews.
FEMA Administrator Brock Long says a recent streak of disasters has stretched the agency thin.
“You start to reach a point where the internal capabilities to manage not only the day to day mission of what we do, but also the sheer number of disasters and not just the sheer number of disasters but how intense these disasters have been over the last year and a half. yeah it starts to put stress inside the agency,” says Long.
However, help is on the way from the Ozarks.
EMS Crews from CoxHealth are headed to Florida to assist with the fallout from the storm. CoxHealth’s EMS Operations Manager Mike Dawson says they will do whatever they can.
“We are part of a bigger plan for EMS response which is guided by direction of FEMA. We don’t really know what our missions will be once we get down there. They give us a specific location to go to, we do whatever mission they ask us to do,” says Dawson.
Dawson says those missions could vary.
“Sometimes that’s moving patients in or out of nursing homes, hospitals. Sometimes that’s backing up the local EMS,” Dawson explains.
The deployment for CoxHealth consists of two ambulance units, with five staff members. Those who didn’t make the trip will pick up the slack here at home.
“For us to be able to have standbys at some of the local football games probably gives us a bigger stretch than running the actual 9-1-1 calls. Generally means overtime for somebody else, back-filling for those guys who have deployed, but we can manage that,” Dawson explains.
Dawson says he doesn’t know how long their team will be in the area, but if they are there for seven days, they will look into sending backup crews to relieve them.
Michael has been downgraded into a tropical storm as it makes its way across the Carolinas.