Local emergency responders return home from assisting Hurricane Michael victims

Becky Campbell • Oct 16, 2018 at 10:42 PM

BAILEYTON — East Tennessee’s road-weary medics returned home Tuesday after spending a week helping victims of Hurricane Michael after it demolished parts of Florida last week.

Five ambulances carrying two-person teams from three area counties, along with a team leader and support vehicle, rolled into a Greene County truck stop to mark the end of their deployment.

The 11 paramedics and advanced EMTs are members of the Region One Strike Team, and were part of a larger contingent of medics from the state that responded to assist in recovery efforts following the devastation brought to the Gulf of Mexico by Hurricane Michael.

The five units included two vehicles and four medics from the Washington County/Johnson City EMS. Sullivan County EMS Deputy Chief Stacy Mahan was team leader for the group on this deployment.

Region One met up with ambulances and medics from two other Tennessee regions and drove in convoy to Alabama Oct. 10.

The group had its first assignment early the next morning and stayed busy from that point on. Most of the assignments included transferring nursing home or hospital patients from areas that were damaged in some way to locations further away from where the Category 4 hurricane hit.

The medics began seeing storm damage as they approached their first stop in Alabama last week. As they moved further into the storm’s path, there was more destruction.

In addition to transferring patients from facilities that were damaged to safer locations, the Strike Team also helped set up a mobile hospital and responded to 911 calls in Chattahoochee, Florida.

After stopping at the truck stop off I-81 in Greene County, team members said they were tired and ready to see their families. From there, the teams went their separate ways to their own EMS headquarters before heading home.