When FEMA decided to evacuate residents of Louisiana and Texas into Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia, Metro Atlanta Ambulance, with the support and cooperation of a number of local area EMS agencies, served a key role in moving over two thousand displaced citizens from Dobbins ARB to local area hospitals, nursing homes and shelters established by the Red Cross.
Within an hour of notification, Metro Atlanta Ambulance President and CEO Pete Quinones had assembled a team and soon had staged more than 30 ambulance units, 15 Paratransit vehicles, 8 passenger vans and 20 transit buses in the Cobb Civic Center parking lot.
Participating transportation agencies included Metro Atlanta Ambulance Service, Puckett EMS, Dekalb County EMS, Gwinnett County EMS, Cherokee County EMS, Clark Ambulance, Elite EMS, ProCare Ambulance, Hall County EMS, Henry County EMS, National EMS, Hightower Ambulance, Newton County EMS, Bartow County EMS, and Barrow County EMS. MARTA, GRETA, the Georgia Department of Transportation and Med Van provided ambulatory and wheelchair transportation.
Patients and displaced Louisiana residents were airlifted into Dobbins ARB for four days following the devastating blow Hurricane Katrina had on the gulf coast. Medics, many working overtime shifts, staffed dedicated EMS units around the clock to ensure transportation was immediately available whenever a plan touched down.
About a week after the Louisiana Airlift, FEMA officials decided to take precautionary measures and airlift patients out of Texas and Louisiana hospitals and nursing homes before Hurricane Rita had reached the Texas-Louisiana Coast. The Hurricane Rita operation lasted two days and moved more than 1000 patients, many critically ill or injured out of harms way.
Mr. Quinones, the Staging Commander for Transport Operations stated," Our hearts and prayers continue to be with all those devastated by these two storms and we are deeply sadden by the destruction and loss of life. However, the people of Georgia can be proud in our collective ability to react so quickly to these type situations. FEMA, GEMA, Public Health, Law Enforcement, local governments, healthcare agencies, local EMS providers and a numerous other agencies and volunteers worked together to try and make people's transition here as painless as we could. Their lives as they knew it had been devastated and everyone working on this operation had true compassion in their hearts for what these folks had been through and wanted to help them. I?d rap it up by stating we all worked together and accomplished a great mission for humanity. I hope circumstance never present where it has to be done again."