Rescuers deploy to Hurricane Laura impact areas
Strike teams, search and rescue crews, aircraft and convoys of ambulances headed to the Gulf Coast area before and in the aftermath of the Category 4 storm
By Laura French
Hurricane Laura struck the Gulf Coast early Thursday morning, leaving a path of devastation and debris.
The Category 4 hurricane caused a storm surge that could reach up to 40 miles inland, left approximately 700,000 homes and buildings without power and killed at least two people, according to the Associated Press.
Laura weakened to a tropical storm about 11 hours after landfall.
Dozens of strike teams, search and rescue crews, ambulance buses and aircraft have been deployed the area to before and after landfall to assist with evacuations and rescue efforts.
Video Thursday morning showed a convoy of 100 ambulances and rescue vehicles headed to Louisiana.
The Texas Emergency Medical Task Force rostered 10 ambulance strike teams, three ambulance buses and an ambulance staging management team in preparation for the storm. Strike teams were headed to impact areas to assist in the storm's aftermath Thursday morning.
Proud to be members of the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force 6 Ambulance Strike Team - on the way to help our neighbors in the aftermath of #hurricanelaura. #firstresponders #ems pic.twitter.com/UlzG2RBpRK— MCHD_TX (@MCHD_TX) August 27, 2020
Heading to Port Arthur and there’s a line of dozens of first places responders heading east on I-10 DPS, UT Health EMS, Fort Bend County, Hopkins Co., Harris Co. and more. Even spotted Dallas. Help is on the way y’all! 🙌🏽 #HurricaneLaura2020 #laura #abc13 @abc13houston pic.twitter.com/T1YmKLGTt0— Roxie Bustamante (@RoxieAbc13) August 27, 2020
At the request of the state, the @TXEMTF has rostered 10 ambulance strike teams, 3 ambulance buses, and an ambulance staging management team.— Texas Emergency Medical Task Force (EMTF) (@TXEMTF) August 23, 2020
These men and women are ready to respond to the impact of Hurricane #Marco and tropical storm #Laura. #TexansHelpingTexans pic.twitter.com/w2G7hjgDPE
Fire crews and engines were also deployed through the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid system.
Buda Fire Department has been activated by the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System to assist with Flood Response in East Texas due to Hurricane Laura. Employees with the Buda Fire Department’s Special Operations Team are en route to NRG Stadium in Houston. pic.twitter.com/Z9LI7tilqd— Central Texas Fires (@TexasFires) August 27, 2020
Dozens of American Medical Response EMS providers and vehicles were deployed Wednesday on a FEMA request to prepare for the storm.
GMR is deploying dozens of paramedics, EMTs, ambulances, paratransit teams and vehicles to Beaumont, Texas, as part of AMR's FEMA contract. This is in response to the federal government's request to AMR for EMS deployment for Hurricane Laura.https://t.co/dyooWXyzbz pic.twitter.com/NgLdx3i4sw— American Medical Response (@AMR_Social) August 26, 2020
National Urban Search & Rescue Response System task forces from all across the country were also deployed by FEMA. Task forces consisting of rescue apparatus, search and rescue dogs and hundreds of personnel headed to the impact areas Wednesday and overnight to assist.
Urban Search & Rescue AZ-TF1 departing Phoenix Fire Special Operations just before midnight on their way to Louisiana. Our team will be a part of the #fema response for #HurricaneLaura This Type 3 team has 45 members including 2 search & rescue dogs. pic.twitter.com/JUxfw28woI— Phoenix Fire Dept. (@PHXFire) August 27, 2020
When disaster strikes, New Jersey Task Force One Urban Search and Rescue responds. Today, this incredible team is en route to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to assist with rescue and recovery efforts resulting from Hurricane Laura. Learn more about #NJTF1: https://t.co/1YyW2Bo7df pic.twitter.com/RldvB0Ttel— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) August 27, 2020
Short update: Mississippi USAR Task Force is awaiting mission assignments as part of the coordinated rescue response to Hurricane Laura. pic.twitter.com/b9FQ2VZHLE— MS Homeland Security (@MS_Homeland_Sec) August 27, 2020
All hands on deck as members of #INTF1 prep and pack for deployment to #HurricaneLaura / #Marco as a US&R Type IV Water Rescue Task Force comprised of members from 11 area fire agencies, 1 police & 2 civilians. pic.twitter.com/7ei2tJlk7c— Indiana Task Force 1 (@IN_Task_Force_1) August 26, 2020
Florida US&R Task Force 4 is on their way to Baton Rouge, LA for their assigned 14 day deployment to Hurricane Laura. 42 highly skilled firefighters from Central Florida including 10 members from SCFD left this morning. pic.twitter.com/o0ozSqRaM7— SCFD PIO Media (@scfdpio) August 26, 2020
#MOTF1 arrived in College Station, TX at 5:00 am. The task force staging at Texas Task Force 1 HQ where they wait an assignment as Hurricane Laura makes landfall later today. Hurricane Laura is predicted to strengthen to a Cat 4 before it hits the Gulf Coast near the TX/LA border pic.twitter.com/hfs6xPRUiu— Boone County Fire (@BooneCountyFire) August 26, 2020
Thank you members of the Memphis Fire Department for being part of TN Task Force 1 and deploying to serve those negatively affected by the hurricane in Louisiana. pic.twitter.com/pzYlNF20uw— Mayor Jim Strickland (@MayorMemphis) August 25, 2020
Strike teams equipped with ambulance buses also assisted in evacuations before the storm made landfall.
Acadian Ambulance in Lafayette, Louisiana sent two ambulance buses, each with the capacity to transport 20 patients, to Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana to help evacuate nearly 500 people from facilities and private homes. Acadian has a total of 694 units ready to respond, the agency said on Twitter, as well as 13 aircraft on standby to respond when post-storm conditions allow it.
As of 2:50 p.m., we have evacuated, or are in the process of evacuating, 223 patients from facilities in SETX and SWLA. We have activated 102 extra crews and 43 add'l ambulances and two ambulance buses from other Acadian areas to augment our normal capacity in those areas. pic.twitter.com/wHhIOaAV8X— Acadian Ambulance (@AcadianNews) August 25, 2020
The Flower Mound Fire Department in Texas also deployed a strike team and ambulance buses to Southeast Texas to perform evacuations and prepare for the storm's impact. The department evacuated 19 residents from a nursing facility on Tuesday.
FMFD crews assigned to the ambulance strike team are preparing to depart San Antonio for southeast Texas. pic.twitter.com/gp4VdjiGBd— FlowerMoundFD (@FlowerMoundFD) August 24, 2020
FMFD has been busy today with Hurricane Laura response. The ambulance 🚑 strike team evacuated 19 patients from a nursing facility in Port Arthur and transported them to Corsicana (4 hours each way). Crews are now on their way back to Beaumont. pic.twitter.com/ccppu7phyB— FlowerMoundFD (@FlowerMoundFD) August 26, 2020
This morning, FMFD deployed personnel to serve as an Ambulance Staging Manager, a Strike Team Leader, and to staff the AMBUS on state mission assignments for the hurricanes in the Gulf. Crews will be staged in San Antonio awaiting assignment. pic.twitter.com/HLxeNF4rvC— FlowerMoundFD (@FlowerMoundFD) August 23, 2020
UMC EMS in Lubbock, Texas has deployed its ambulance bus and two of its paramedics will also serve on the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force (EMTF) Region 1 strike team.
Additionally, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has mobilized the National Guard to help, and the Department of Wildlife has staged boats for water rescues, according to the Associated Press.