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Ambulances deploying to Mississippi as part of FEMA contract

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 8:29 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Among the resources being sent to Mississippi for response to Hurricane Ida are ambulances, and the state is working to see if they can stick around for other needs.

Ambulances with license plates from across the country - New York, New Jersey, Ohio - are lined up and waiting at the fairgrounds in Jackson.

“This is a coordinated effort,” explained Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director of External Affairs Malary White. “Thankfully to FEMA and HHS bringing these ambulances here to Mississippi for the Hurricane Ida response.”

Maybe you’re thinking, “Why Mississippi? We didn’t have evacuations of hospitals here.”

So, what might these crews do?

That’s why we reached out to American Medical Response that holds the FEMA contract to find out.

“It’s hard to differentiate what’s specific to the hurricane sometimes, but the volume obviously is increased across the state,” described Phillip Mongeau, AMR Operations Chief at the national command center. “So, we’re there to support those local jurisdictions in the state, anywhere we can within that medical transportation realm.”

They started arriving Monday evening but have not yet been sent out on any calls. But say the other consideration in hurricanes is that it’s not always the first 24-36 hours when they’re needed.

“Just the degradation over time,” noted Mongeau. “So, maybe the initial impact wasn’t terrible. But as those hospitals sit there... facilities, maybe sit without power for extended time, or they lose power due to flooding, or the flooding doesn’t recede, that, you know, they end up with more long term challenges.”

Mississippi is still processing what the needs may be. But make this note:

“Another thing that we are waiting on is before Hurricane Ida formed, we, MEMA and Department of Health, put in a request from FEMA and HHS for paramedics and ambulances for the COVID-19 mission,” said Malary White. “Now, we understand and we know that Louisiana is in need of a lot of resources. We are asking that if by any chance we can repurpose some of these ambulances for the COVID-19 mission. But if they are needed in Louisiana, send them to Louisiana.”

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