CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Several local EMS teams were deployed to the Gulf Coast Friday afternoon to assist areas devastated by Hurricane Laura.
The Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority sent seven ambulances, along with the Logan Emergency Ambulance Service Authority sending one ambulance to Gonzales, Louisiana which is 961 miles away from Charleston.
Both crews are apart of FEMA’s “Ground Ambulance Strike Team” and were put on standby for assistance earlier this week. Friday morning they got the call that it was go time.
KCEAA Commander James Mason said: “this team, with different members, have been going out of the state for over 15-20 years for different missions since 9/11 when this program was setup.”
This mission is more difficult as they face two crises.
Fourteen paramedics and EMTs have been deployed in eight ambulances carrying PPE, food, water and other emergency/medical supplies.
These men and women are leaving their family behind for up to 30 days.
“It’s our 25th wedding anniversary. It’s an inconvenient time to go, but gotta go,” said one EMT.
These first responders train year-round and say they’re prepared for anything that’s thrown at them.
“They are great at what they do. It’s an honor for me and them to travel across our nation and take care of folks in other areas,” said Mason.
These men and women are expected to arrive in Gonzalez, LA around 2:30 a.m., Saturday morning.