GREENVILLE, OH / LIBERTY, IN – Spirit Medical Transport, LLC, sent four ambulances and crewmembers from its Greenville and Liberty locations Thursday night to assist FDNY medics and firefighters in New York.
Early Thursday afternoon Global Medical Response (GMR) mobilized a second deployment of American Medical Response (AMR) crews and ambulances to New York City and has sent additional teams and vehicles to New Jersey, in response to a FEMA request to help the federal government and local emergency personnel respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the second major deployment in less than two weeks. On March 30, GMR deployed hundreds of EMS crews and ambulances to New York City in response to FEMA’s request. Those crews initially deployed are still assisting FDNY medics and firefighters in New York.
“This pandemic is devastating hundreds of communities, and our crews are answering the call to assist local emergency medical service providers in the hard-hit areas of New Jersey and New York,” said GMR Chief Operating Officer Ted Van Horne. “It is heartbreaking to see how this virus is affecting over 1.5 million people globally. Our teams train year-round to help with crises, and now they are deploying to use their expertise to help patients in extreme need. They are dedicated to the patient who needs them.”
AMR contracts with other EMS companies like Spirit around the country to assist with such deployments. The crews began work under the guidance of FEMA, state and local governments when they arrived at their assigned area Friday night.
“We are proud we’ve been entrusted to provide care to the world at a moment’s notice during this unprecedented time,” said Brian K. Hathaway, president/CEO of Spirit Medical Transport, LLC. “Ohioans and Hoosiers alike are concerned about COVID-19 and want to join in the fight. Our primary focus remains on providing adequate resources at home during this crisis. We have carefully selected the personnel and resources to send and this deployment will in no way impact our ability to meet our community’s own needs.”
Names of those activated from the Darke County area are: Tony Beyke, Brian Brown, Julie Case, Josh Didier, Amanda Fellers, Cole Grillot, Tyler Pratt and Wanda Schroeder.
“This was estimated to be a three-week deployment or greater,” Hathaway said. “Time will tell. Crews that were activated at the end of March are still there and haven’t been given any idea as to when they may go home. There is still talk that additional resources, besides the ones they already have, may be needed.”
The crews working in New York are doing everything from handling hospital to hospital transfers, hospital discharges, to running 9-1-1 calls along side the men and women of NYFD.
“Our crews have been welcomed with open arms and everyone seems very appreciative of them coming to help,” he said. “They’ve quickly been invited into the family by their brothers and sisters of the fire and EMS service. Those who were activated have been told they are welcome to make themselves at home, stop at any fire station in the city to get some rest between calls, enjoy a firehouse meal, and enjoy each other’s company, all while knowing when the tones go off for a call, there’s a job to be done.”
Crews, according to Hathaway, are working between 12-15 hours per day. The other time is spent getting enough rest for the next day’s calls of the unknown.
Why was Spirit chose to help in this situation?
“Spirit Medical Transport LLC, is a network provider of Global Medical Response, a division of American Medical Response, who had held the contract with FEMA for disaster deployments,” Hathaway said. “When a disaster deployment is eminent, notices are sent out by AMR asking providers to update their availability in their online system. Spirit can submit availability for Basic or Advanced Life Support ambulance crews and car drivers. Once availability is submitted into their portal, they then select the number of units requested and you have a short time period to respond. They then give you a location to report to and a set time you must arrive within. The deployment team then has two hours to report to station and be ready to leave. Any employee of Spirit can be on the deployment team. People are then drawn to activate and must immediately commit to the activation and/or pass. Those who aren’t drawn and/or pass, are required to work additional shifts while the other crewmembers are activated, as to ensure we are able to continue our services without interruption back home.”
The local crews took four ambulances, enough food and water to survive for three days, and enough personal protective equipment for three days of calls. There was a need for additional stair chairs based upon the number of apartments in New York.
“We not only took our own, but the Union City, Ohio, Fire Department allowed us to borrow two of theirs as well,” Hathaway said. “So far, the folks at AMR have made sure the crews have been kept well-nourished with enough supplies. At the hospitals, they have a cleaning crew going into the backs of the ambulances cleaning and wiping them down while the crews are inside the ER’s dropping off their patients. They are doing an exceptional job and trying to ensure everyone stays safe, while also caring for and treating some of the sickest people.”
GMR’s Office of Emergency Management activated the company’s National Command Center (NATCOM) in Dallas on Jan. 28 to monitor the spread of the virus closely and work with state and federal agencies to deploy teams for screenings, transports and evacuations. GMR’s medical leaders are working closely with the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and departments of public health around the country.
“We continue to carefully monitor our crews – those who are part of the FEMA deployment and those who remain in their home communities – to ensure that they remain safe and healthy,” said Dr. Ed Racht, GMR Chief Medical Officer.
“Our teams are seeing things they can’t prepare for, nobody can prepare for,” Racht said. “As we have seen happen in other countries, caring for patients with this virus also takes a terrible toll on the caregivers. We want to do everything we can to help them with physical and mental wellbeing as they are helping people suffering from COVID-19.”
Contact Staff Writer Linda Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (937)569-4315 ext. 1749. Read more news, features and sports at DarkeCountyMedia.com.