EMS, LFD offer hurricane relief
In the last several weeks, two major hurricanes traveled through the Gulf of Mexico affecting Texas and Louisiana and impacting thousands of people. When a natural disaster of this proportion occurs, it overwhelms the local emergency responders. Responders from other areas are called upon to assist.
Texas Department of State Health Services put out a request for all av
ailable ambulances and personnel to be placed on standby prior to Katrina”s landfall in Louisiana. The initial request was to send ambulances and personnel to the hard-hit areas left in the wake of Katrina. However, when it became evident that all the people would be transported elsewhere, the need locally became greater. Lockhart”s emergency services stood ready to answer the call.
One Lockhart ambulance and two personnel spent a total of six days assisting at the Austin Convention Center with the emergent health needs as the hurricane evacuees arrived at the airport and later at the convention center.
As Rita approached the Texas coast, EMS was once again placed on standby. Due to the evacuation of the hard-hit areas, large deployment of emergency medical ambulances following Hurricane Rita was not needed, however.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the fire department was also placed on standby to provide assistance to areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Initially, one fire apparatus and two firefighters were made available to be deployed if needed.
Later, as the situation became more dire with the approach of Hurricane Rita, two additional personnel were made available. On Monday, Oct. 3, four firefighters and one fire apparatus were deployed to East Texas to assist with hurricane cleanup in the Beaumont area.
The four Lockhart firefighters, Capt. Clint Browning and firefighters Chance Bishop, Derek Sexton and Brandon Kitchens will spend at least a week in the Orange County Emergency Operations Center. In addition to working with a Texas Forest Service Task Force supporting debris cleanup (removing trees and de-energized power lines, and checking homes for any survivors in need of assistance), they will also respond to the same types of emergency calls they would in Lockhart, such as fires, medical assists, gas leaks and vehicle accidents.
The expense for the use of city personnel in these hurricane relief efforts will be reimbursed by FEMA.
(Courtesy of Cheryl Schneider)