KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
August 31, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
While Hurricane Laura missed Katy and the Greater Houston Area, the intense Category 4 storm slammed into the East Texas/Louisiana coast. Local emergency services quickly responded to offer aid and support, just as these neighbors did after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.
Fort Bend County EMS joined a massive convoy made up of buses, ambulances, coach buses, military, task forces, and emergency personnel to support those impacted by Hurricane Laura.
“We know that when it’s us affected, we know that our neighbors from Beaumont, Corpus Christi, and more cities are coming to help us,” says Deputy Chief of Operations Mike Nixon with Fort Bend County EMS.
Deployed to Beaumont, Transported Patients
Fort Bend County EMS is part of the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force Region 6, which includes the Houston and Galveston region. For this deployment they started at Ford Park in Beaumont and then assisted the Beaumont Civic Center in relocating bed-bound patients that lived at home to the San Antonio AT&T Center.
“We transported patients out ahead of the storm by using our AMBUS, a purpose-built vehicle for moving patients,” says Nixon. “We can move 23 stretcher-bound patients and that frees up ambulance services so that they can be where they need to be.”
When moving patients to San Antonio, the AMBUS was followed by one coach bus full of patients that were able to sit, and then another coach bus full of family members who didn’t have transportation.
During the storm, Fort Bend County EMS was housed at Houston’s NRG Stadium and deployed the morning after the storm as part of a massive convoy to go offer aide.
“At Ford Park we were part of at least 10 AMBUS’, 125 ambulances, over 100 coach buses, Texas military, and task forces,” says Nixon.
Beaumont did not get the damage that was feared. Residents and businesses mostly experienced power outages.
“We were ready to answer the call if we were called to Louisiana but that call never came,” says Nixon. “We didn’t watch the news to see the areas mostly impacted. We were caught up in our mission and helping those who needed to be moved.”
Protected Crew, Patients from COVID
“We continue to be very conscious of COVID-19 and our crew and patients wear masks,” says Nixon. “Our crew also wears gloves and gowns when working with respiratory patients. It is our job to keep everyone safe.”
Only New Generation AMBUS in Texas
Fort Bend County has the only new generation of AMBUS in the state of Texas. According to the Emergency Medical Taskforce, the AMBUS is a specialized medical bus able to provide advanced medical transport and evacuation services for large-scale disasters, mass casualty incidents, incident support, firefighter rehabilitation, and other appropriate, like missions.
Initially, AMBUS were gutted and converted school buses. The one used now in Fort Bend County was an original design made specifically for its purpose.
“The crews and AMBUS have performed flawlessly throughout the mission and we are very proud to serve our fellow Texans,” states the South East Texas Regional Advisory Council.
“As long as our county isn’t impacted, we will go anywhere we are needed,” says Nixon.