HCEMS Emergency Medical Professionals Deploy To Florida

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Three members of the Hamilton County Emergency Medical Service, part of the five Tennessee ambulance strike teams, deployed to Florida in the wake of the destructive storm Irma, and returned on Thursday, having completed their six-day mission.

HCEMS Paramedic supervisors Lt. Brian Bricker, Lt. Billy Burnette and Lt. David Burdett, deployed to Florida for a possible 14-day mission.  Lt. Burdett acted as the team leader. Other agencies making up the Region III team were Cheatham County EMS, City Of Bartlett Fire Department EMS, Memorial Hospital EMS,  and Puckett EMS.  

The Region III team deployed on Friday, from Chattanooga as part of Tennessee’s Hurricane Irma response to help local, state, and federal officials in Florida deal with the impact of Hurricane Irma, the second catastrophic hurricane to strike the United States this season.

Tennessee’s Hurricane Irma teams had a total of 151 members to include: a 40-person nurse strike team; five ambulance strike teams with 57 members; three urban search and rescue teams with 40 personnel; two healthy incident management teams with 10 personnel; and a four-member team of emergency management officials.

“We were privileged to have the opportunity to provide emergency equipment and services to local, state and federal officials and helping the people of Florida before, during and following the destruction of Hurricane Irma,” said Lt. Bricker. “The coordinated efforts of each government agency, health care institution and team member was quick, organized and effective.”

“We anticipated a longer stay in the Florida area; however, the coordinated preparedness and immediate response to the disaster by many agencies led to less need,” said Lt. Burdette. “The recovery continues in Florida and our team here in Chattanooga Region III will be available as needed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Florida community as they begin the process of rebuilding their communities.”

The ambulance strike teams were developed as a voluntary program by the Tennessee Department of Health EMS to assist in local, state and regional disasters. Hamilton County Emergency Medical Service is part of Tennessee’s Region III Team.

Captain Eric Ethridge of HCEMS acts as the Region III Ambulance Strike Team coordinator.  Captain Ethridge said, “I am glad to have all of the Tennessee Ambulance Strike Teams home today, but especially proud of our team and glad Region III was able to assist the citizens of Florida. This was an effort supported by many departments within each agency that provided assets to the deployment.  Many behind the scenes people made this possible.”

 

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