The M Word

CA Task Force 4 Hurricane Harvey Deployment

We have been driving since 11:00 PM on Saturday 8/26 and it is now 8:00AM/10:00AM (PDT/CDT) Monday 8/28 and we are just arriving in Lubbock Texas on our way to Houston in response to the flood disaster created by Hurricane Harvey.  We are a team of 70+ Firefighters, Engineers, Canine-Search Specialists, Paramedics, and Physicians traveling in a convoy of Tractor-Trailers, Box Trucks, Flat Beds and Passenger Vans.  Although the vans can drive much faster than the big trucks, there is no point in personnel arriving without equipment.  As is the case of many disaster response situations, the limitations are insufficient physical resources so we are bringing boats, generators, shelters, mini-hospital, forklift and literally, truckloads of other stuff.

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The physicians’ responsibilities are to lead the medical team both in the care of disaster victims (mostly in stabilization and transfer to local resources) and in the care and treatment of the team members themselves.  Rather than the glamour we love to think of, this comes down to predominantly public health – I’ve spent the last 12 hours strategizing on how to keep guys from getting trench foot and crotch rot, how to persuade them to wash their hands and not touch their eyes after being in contaminated water, and to drink enough water in spite of being surrounded by and wading in it all day long.  

This extended stop in Lubbock was to let team members hit the WalMart and stock up on additional socks, underwear, tall rubber boots and other personal gear before we get to the point where we will likely lose the ability to effectively dry out.

Now, onward to Houston…

 

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