Local EMS crews helping in Florida after Hurricane Irma
With just over an hour's notice, Kentuckians are heading to Florida to help after Hurricane Irma.
"We found out Saturday night at about 10:00 p.m. we had to be on the road by about 11:15 p.m." says Stephen Haney, who works at Com-Care, Inc.
The company is an ambulance service, and Haney is based out of Logan County.
"We left from Bowling Green right around 11:15 p.m. and had to report to Florida A&M in Tallahassee," he says.
That first night in Tallahassee Haney waited out the storm with the rest of his crew.
"We just kind of had to hang out there because Irma still hadn't hit yet," he says.
Over the past week, the crew has been on the move, stopping wherever they're directed to, to help out by transporting people from hospital to hospital.
After a trip to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, the EMS workers went to St. Petersburg, where they've been since Tuesday.
"Some of the hospitals here, believe it or not are not rated for hurricanes as strong as what Irma was so they had to get rid of all their patients so we've had to take patients from one hospital to this hospital that just opened back up after the hurricane," he explains.
They'll keep doing this for at least 14 days but it could be longer.
"We'll be down here until FEMA says we've got it under control and can release us," Haney adds.
During that time it's taking adjustments with the schedule to make sure things in Kentucky continue to stay on track.
Haney says,"We rely on the other full time employees and our part time employees to step up and fill those open spots. I do the schedule for Logan County and Todd County and I was able to walk out the door Saturday night and hand my boss the schedule and say 'hey, everything is covered.'"
And he says working with other companies from around the country is benefitting more than just those directly impacted by Irma in Florida.
"It's difficult but it's well worth it and it's been neat to see how other things are ran," explains Haney, "I've learned a lot from the people we're staying with about stuff I would like to come back and do for Com-Care that I think would make us a better ambulance service, so you can learn a lot of stuff while you're away too, and try to make your ambulance service better when you get back."
Haney says improvements are being made every day from what he can see in Florida, and the crew members appreciate all the support, especially from their families being so understanding while they're deployed.
According to Haney, Com-Care employees currently in Florida include: Stephen Haney, Rick Porter, Ben Wofford, Shane Butler, Andy Bass, Wesley Lynn, Amanda Smith-Gaspar, Lisa Johnson, and Zach Frommel.