By 12:30pm a strike team of 4 ALS ambulances, 4 Paramedics, 5 EMTs and 1 strike team leader left for San Antonio, Texas. These crew members drove all night to make it there by the 12:30 deadline. After arriving and checking in, along with over 300 ambulances from all over the United States, we were given some down time knowing that there was only 48 hours before the storm was going to make landfall.
September 11, 2008 - THE STORM HITS!
05:30, FEMA National Command Center received word that the storm a very large category 3 that was turning and was heading straight for Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. All the ambulance crews were awoken and given orders to head to Houston to prepare to evacuate the city along with the neighboring cities of Beaumont and Galveston. AmeriCare Ambulance led a strike team of over 100 Ambulances and 50 buses from San Antonio to Houston where we would get additional missions orders telling what hospitals to evacuate. The first mission was to evacuate a Hospice facility with over 50 terminally ill patients and transport them to Wells, Texas. A strike team of 25 ambulances double loaded patients and made the 4-hour drive in the middle of the night with all family members following behind that strike team. Once completing that mission, the strike team headed back to Ford Arena in Beaumont Texas.
Shortly after arriving to Ford Arena, and just having enough time to get fuel in our ambulances, we were dispatched to St. Elizabeth Hospital to evacuate patients. However, FEMA gave strict orders that we were to head back to San Antonio no later than 12:00pm for our safety. At 12:30pm, we finally loaded the last patient into our ambulance and began the trip to San Antonio. During the trip, it started to rain with wind gusts up to 60mph. Though the drive was difficult, we finally arrived to San Antonio around 6pm.
September 12, 2008 - After The Storm
After the storm made landfall, we were sent on missions to help evacuate some of the shelters that housed evacuees from areas that were hard hit and had no electricity. We also evacuated discharged patients from the local hospital in Galveston. The hospital’s basement and first floors were totally flooded. A few days after Ike hit, some towns began to get electricity back and we were able to return many patients back to their facilities and homes.
AmeriCare Ambulance was deployed in Texas for a total of 14 days. In those 14 days, we drove thousands of miles, we were able to evacuate and bring home many patients, and we were able to meet so many wonderful people just so thankful that we had driven from California to come to their aid. All of the employees that were deployed all returned home safe and had a new appreciation of what they have and how much they love their jobs.