Hurricane Dean: Local emergency workers on alert


 
 

Lauren Gregory | | Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Though their help ultimately may not be needed, several local emergency aid workers said they will remain on standby as Hurricane Dean continues on its path inland.

Because the storm initially di-verted into Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula rather than heading straight to Texas, a two-man team that brought an emergency response vehicle from Chattanooga to Little Rock, Ark., Saturday has been recalled and was on its way home Tuesday, according to American Red Cross spokesman Will Rowe.

However, Mr. Rowe said, conditions still are being monitored in both Texas and Oklahoma.

"They told us not to unpack," Mr. Rowe said. "We'll maintain our watchfulness."

Collegedale City Manager Ted Rogers, commander of the Tennessee-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team, was deployed Sunday to San Antonio and is awaiting further direction from his superiors at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Mr. Rogers' team has been operational since 2002 and has responded to major disasters each year for the past four years, including after Hurricane Katrina. It will be available to alleviate overcrowding in hospitals, set up a special needs shelter or even set up an outside hospital wherever necessary, he said.

"We'll go anywhere there is a potential compromise in the medical community," Mr. Rogers said. "We deploy out like a military unit."

Though Mr. Rogers said he believes a callback is "a strong possibility," he said his team of 35 doctors, nurses, paramedics and other medical personnel will remain at attention.

"We're just waiting to be moved," he said. "When you're staged, you have to stay ready to respond."




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