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Before & After the Storm

A special message from JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman:

I was attending the annual International Association of EMS Chiefs’ (IAEMSC) Conference in Washington, D.C. this past weekend and was forced to leave the city on Sunday in advance of the storm to attend another event. While at Reagan National Airport in D.C., my cell phone began ringing even before the first wind and rain began. Friends, colleagues and EMS responders throughout the East Coast were calling to tell me they were OK and update us (JEMS) about what was occurring. Much of it was about their preparations and staging of resources in advance of the storm. I felt comfortable from what I was hearing that plans were in place and the “troops” were going to be ready for the worst.

After the storm made landfall on Monday, my phone rang again with reports of the aftermath. Hospitals were landlocked, EMS headquarters flooded, responders’ family members were trapped by water and had to be rescued or evacuated while their dedicated loved ones were at work providing EMS care to the thousands of other citizens affected by the storm.

There were reports of many EMS, fire and police responders’ homes and cars flooded and destroyed, and hospitals that lost power and had to be evacuated unexpectedly. But, like so many disasters in the past, EMS responders took a deep breath, pulled up their boots and carried on their public safety and lifesaving services. We commend their efforts and have them in our thoughts and prayers. We are also committed to bringing you stories of their heroic efforts, sleepless nights and quality customer service in the face of unimaginable obstacles.

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