Surprisingly enough, not a lot of people even know that the Coastal Bend is home to one of the 8 regions that has an emergency medical task force.
The Texas Emergency Medical Task Force is a coordinated network of local medical resources that are rapidly deployable in the event of a regional or state disaster or large-scale incident.
"We can run a small tent where doctors and nurses are giving flu shots or helping triage patients outside a hospital, grow all the way up to a pre standing hospital that is treating critical patients. One of those types of operations was in Orange, after Harvey. That hospital was a self-contained hospital that ran for weeks on end," EMTF 11 Regional Coordinator John Phillips.
Emergency means quick action by the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force. Trained staff can roll into town and set up shop in matter of minutes.
"Not only do large disasters affect individual people and their homes and families, it affects facilities. Hospitals are shut down or damaged to the point they can't operate. Doctors offices, clinics, free-standing ER may or may not be able to function, and we are able to step in and fill that role until they are able to function again and serve that community," said Phillips.
"It's become kind of an elite team. We take emergency medical nurses and critical care nurses with experience, as well as emergency medicine trained physicians who are still working in the emergency department," said EMTF 11 volunteer Dr. Alicia Hart.
Members of Texas Emergency Medical Task Force (EMTF) 11 are gearing up for a full-scale exercise on South Padre Island next week to train and be prepared for their next deployment.
"You have an island with a smaller population that surges during spring break. That gives us an opportunity to set up a hospital there and alleviate patients going to the mainland, but also train our own folks in a controlled environment," said Phillips.
"We will also be providing a mobile medical unit at the air show. So if somebody is injured or needs medical care while at the air show, we will be there and available to help people out," said Dr. Hart.
The goal of the Texas EMTF program is to provide a well-coordinated response, offering rapid professional medical assistance to emergency operation systems during large scale incidents.
"We are ready to take care of you if you get hurt. We are ready for when the next hurricane comes, and it so critical that we have these units available that are ready to respond in these situations," said Dr. Hart.
Developing the plan to respond on a state level produces the benefit of being able to respond on a regional level when needed in your local area.
"If we are able to develop these teams, train well, learn to work together, we can integrate when something happens. We are ready to respond to that event, and ready to respond quickly," said Dr. Hart.
Participating agencies & personnel will interact with other agencies & personnel from across Texas using the Incident Command System and will communicate using the Texas Interoperability Communications Plan (TICP).
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