Medical personnel are waiting on a call at Metro Technology Center’s Aviation Career Centers. Cots and staff are set up in an airport hanger to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
“We are just waiting for the word,” said Stacy Rine. “We actually got on alert yesterday.”
Rine is the public information officer for Oklahoma City’s VA Hospital. As a federal entity, the VA is leading the Federal Coordination Center.
Several hospitals and care facilities in Texas have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Many patients need to be transported to other locations, so Oklahoma is on standby to take some in.
“We got EMSA here. We have the Medical Emergency Response Center, the fire department, the city police are here,” said Rine.
If the call comes, the plane would land at Metro Tech or at the Oklahoma Air National Guard runway, depending on the size of the aircraft. From the runway, EMSA will meet the patients on the plane and transport them to the nearby airport hanger. The patients will be triaged to determine the level of care that is needed.
There will be three colors to mark the type of care necessary: green is for stable patients, yellow is for those who need more care. They will be placed on cots as they wait for ambulances to take them to a hospital. Patients marked red need urgent care. Those people will not be placed on cots in the hanger. Critical patients will be immediately taken to the hospital.
There are 14 participating hospitals in Oklahoma City that are providing updated bed counts and staffing for patients impacted by the hurricane.
Heather Yazdanipour is the response coordinator for the Regional Medical Response System in our area. She is also a paramedic with EMSA.
Yazdanipour said, “Being a paramedic for 17 years in the system and now you have this happen. Your first thought is I want to run down there and try to help them.”
She’s been following the devastation in Texas and understands what the patients are going through is both a physical and emotional pain.
She said, “We have to take care of a patient as a whole when they come through the door, not just their complaint, but what they’ve gone through.”
Outside of Texas, Oklahoma will be the first state to receive any patients affected by Hurricane Harvey.