We Texans tend to be proud of our heritage and so many things about the Lone Star State. This past weekend, I was given even more reasons for being proud to call Texas home.
You may already know that my husband works as a disaster preparedness planner for the State of Texas. His expertise is in bioterrorism, but he can be called upon at the spur of the moment for any emergency that impacts our state. One of the areas that specifically impacts him is planning for emergency medical evacuations and sheltering.
When hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices evacuate, they have to have a place to take the patients. The most critical patients go to hospitals out of harm's way. Less serious cases are housed in makeshift medical shelters. It takes a huge amount of coordination, communication and planning to put a medical shelter into place. I drove with my husband over to College Station where a 200-bed shelter was organized on the floor of Reed Arena.
Reed Arena is home to the Texas A&M basketball teams, but for the past couple of days, it has served as a safe place for medical evacuees from Louisiana and Beaumont, TX. (No pics were allowed inside the arena during the set-up).
I drove with my hubby to drop off medical supplies. Once we got there, the Rhode Island DMAT (Disaster Medical Assistance Team) quickly unloaded the equipment. (Side note: State DMAT teams are dispatched by the Federal Government. Most, if not all, members have military medical backgrounds. Props to those guys and gals, too!). Pallets of other medical supplies, as well as bottled water, had already been delivered. A&M Corps students were setting up the beds, and scores of A&M nursing students and medical residents would be there later to assist the DMAT volunteers.
While I'm sure the operation wasn't without its flaws, and 200 patients barely made a dent in the entire patient population that was evacuated, it made me proud of Texas for playing a role in taking care of Gustav evacuees. As the shelter at Reed Arena is dismantled, it looks like Texas is preparing for Ike. Hopefully, Ike will fizzle out before hitting the U.S. If not, I'll be proud, knowing Texas will be there to lend a hand.
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