GREENVILLE — Spirit Medical Transport in Greenville was deployed to the Hurricane Dorian region with eight personnel and four of their newly purchased ambulances late last month.
President/CEL Brian K. Hathaway indicated Spirit Medical Transport, LLC, has been a network provider with American Medical Response (AMR) since 2013.
“AMR is FEMA’s prime emergency medical service response provider and has a national agreement with FEMA to provide ground ambulance, air ambulance, para-transit services, and non-ambulance EMS personnel to supplement the federal and military response to a disaster, an act of terrorism, or any other public health emergency,” Hathaway said. “While we had never been activated since we first registered in 2013, during recent company management retreats we spoke with providers who had been deployed in the past about the level of self-fulfillment this was able to give their company and personnel to be activated.”
He said in January, this became one of the company goals, to become more active should the need arise.
“Over the past few months, Capt. Jeremy Miller, Regulatory Administrative Assistant Cindy Bruner and myself worked to update our name in the system, as well as our response agreement,” he said. “Capt. Miller had sent out an email asking anyone interested to sign up to be on the team. Several people responded. We had been in regular communication with the great folks at AMR over the past several weeks, making sure we had dotted our I’s and crossed our T’s. Then, at around 3 a.m. the morning of Aug. 30, we were activated to send two BLS ‘Basic Life Support’ ambulances. At that point, it became an all hands-on deck event for the management team. From Dispatcher Supervisor/Scheduler Leah Poling working to find coverage for those who had been drawn from a hat to be deployed, to Operations Manager Brian Brown and Captains Jeremy Miller and Sarah Stump going to buy all the necessary essentials needed for the deployment, to myself working with the folks at Greenville Federal to ensure those being deployed had an ample amount of financial resources available to them in the event the crews were to be without a means of accessing an ATM machine, etc.”
He added, “Besides having to pack clothing and a whole list of items as required for deployment, we basically packed like we were going on a hiking trip where we could be days without access to such things as a shower, or hot food.”
The first deployment Friday morning, Aug. 30 included Jeremy Miller, Jacob Cain, Erika Hohler and Julie Case. The second deployment on Monday, Sept. 2, included Hathaway, Amanda Patterson, Tracie Brown and Michael Adkins.
“Everyone volunteered to go and were on a list,” Hathaway noted. “We drew names from a hat as to whom would be going. Then, once your name was drawn, you had 20 minutes to accept or decline going. Everyone who was drawn, with the exception of one person who had some underlying medical issues preventing him from the commitment, agreed to go and were packed and ready within a matter of hours of being notified.”
Spirit Medical, he said, was staged in a remote location near the Florida-Georgia border.
“The first crew was there from Friday evening until Thursday at around 4 a.m. when the staging site was demobilized,” he said. “We all arrived home Thursday night at around midnight. The second crew left out Monday evening around 9 p.m. and arrived at the staging location at around 11 a.m. Tuesday morning. We, too, were deactivated at around 4 a.m. Thursday and traveled back in a small convoy Thursday and arrived in Greenville around midnight.”
Other than the typical pop-up showers seen routinely in Florida, while in the high 80s most days, the weather where they were staged “wasn’t bad at all,” Hathaway stated. “Whenever you enter a profession like this, there are lots of unknowns, but most times you return at the end of the day and have a family to come back to. In this case, an EMS stranger you have never worked with before becomes your brother and sister on the front line as you try to communicate back home and lend your support from a thousand miles away. Nonetheless, you went into the mission knowing God has a plan for you and there were lots of people praying for your safe return. That’s what made the experience most humbling to me.”