The tragedy of Hurricane Harvey has inspired an outpouring of sympathy and assistance from people here in Texas and around the world. At Elite Medical Transport, we’re proud to play a significant role in the rescue efforts as part of Texas Medical Task Force 9.
Elite dispatched two ambulances and a specially equipped ambulance bus to the scene shortly after the hurricane made landfall. The ambulance bus is literally an ICU unit installed into a custom built bus, with three racks of sleeper bays that can transport up to 20 critical patients from hospitals or other medical facilities.
To date, we have conducted 22 transports of patients from hospitals in Victoria, Houston, and the surrounding region, and stand committed to continue making transports as long as the need remains. Elite is also ready to participate in the extended process of returning patients, as the waters recede and regular operations resume at medical facilities.
While the loss of life from Hurricane Harvey has been tragic, the scenario would almost undoubtedly be far worse without the medical task force system. The state of Texas established the emergency task force system in response to the devastation of hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike. Texas, and later New Jersey, are the only two states to institute such a system so far.
The emergency task force system in Texas has nine units. Each unit is trained and equipped to deal with the mass evacuation of patients in the event of a catastrophic event, such as a Category 5 hurricane. In the past weeks, the need has been obvious – the task of evacuating an area like Houston, the nation’s fourth largest city, has been enormous. It is difficult to imagine what the circumstances would be like for these patients without having these task forces in place.