ITHACA, N.Y. — Hurricane Florence converged on the U.S. last week, battering much of the southeast. Support for the millions effected extends hundreds of miles from the eye of the storm and includes the efforts of local responders.
Ithaca’s Bangs Ambulance deployed emergency medical services Sept. 11 staffed with two Advanced Life Support providers, Paramedic Supervisor George Tamborelle and Paramedic Supervisor Dan Leonard, according to a news release. Under the guidance of FEMA, state and local EMS agencies, the crew worked to provide emergency and non-emergency patient services.
The storm was downgraded to a Tropical Depression on Sunday, but its effects continue to have severe consequences with flooding and water levels not expected to recede fully for days. Evacuation orders continue. Between North and South Carolina, there have been at least 23 deaths, according to local news station ABC11.
Under an agreement with American Medical Response, Bangs Ambulance is a network provider contracted with FEMA. Per the agreement, Bangs Ambulance responded to requested aid for Virginia and the Carolinas. Staff were stationed at Ft. Lee, Virginia in anticipation of the storm’s arrival, ready to mobilize should they be dispatched.
Paramedics from Bangs Ambulance were assigned a strike team leadership role. The crew commanded the efforts of four Virginia-based ambulance operations.
Meghan Bangs Teeter, human resources manager for Bangs Ambulance, said assisting with major wide-spread emergencies is typical of Bangs Ambulance.
“We went for Hurricane Katrina. We went for 9/11 and have responded to most of the major east coast hurricanes,” Teeter said. “Usually, we help with whatever (is needed), like nursing home re-location.”
However, the storm’s strength weakened on landfall, which deescalated aid action plans.
“The hurricane was not as bad as what they predicted,” Teeter said. “Unfortunately, they didn’t need many resources, so all the ambulances sent to Fort Lee did not leave Fort Lee. They were there on standby.”
Tim Bangs, president of Bangs Ambulance, said in a news release said they were fortunate to be able to send local assets, including personnel and equipment to help communities in the path of Hurricane Florence.
“Our staff has been tremendous in this effort, with many employees volunteering for both deployment and to backfill our local crews.” Bangs stated.
Bangs Ambulance crew was demobilized on Saturday afternoon and returned home that evening.
Images provided by Bangs Ambulance.