Vermont EMS Personnel Provide Urgently Needed Care throughout Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 28, 2005

CONTACT: Communication Office
(Health Operations Center) 802-657-4301

BURLINGTON – The Vermont convoy of 13 volunteer ambulance crews that left Brattleboro on Sept. 22 continues to provide patient transport and backup 911-emergency service response throughout Texas in the wake of Hurricane Rita.

“From all reports, Emergency Medical Service personnel will be needed in the area for another month,” said Dan Manz, EMS director for the Vermont Department of Health. “The aid our Vermont crews have been providing is a point of pride for the state. They have proven to be critically important in areas hit hard by the storm.”

Six of the Vermont ambulance crews helped evacuate Shady Acres Healthcare, a convalescent care center in the small town of Newton, Texas on Tuesday, after 21 hours of supporting the few convalescent center staff there.

Shady Acres Healthcare lacked electrical power or running water and was nearly out of supplies when three Vermont ambulance crews first arrived on Monday. Upper Valley Ambulance Paramedic John Vose discovered 31 of the 80 residents could not be transported in the two large buses sent by FEMA.

Residents using wheelchairs or lying in beds had waited nearly five hours to be transported. Vose put out an urgent call for assistance and was surprised when three additional crews from Vermont arrived on the scene.

“The Vermont crews heard I needed help, and just started my way,” Vose said. “They told me, ‘We heard the Green Mountain Boys needed help – we had no choice.’”

The Vermont crews are reporting back daily to the Vermont Department of Health Operations Center, which has set up a crew rotation schedule beginning this weekend to relieve the 32 EMS personnel who have been working 16- to 20-hour days.