MHPC Coordinates Response to Flooded areas Following Hurricane Matthew

Just one week following the civil unrest in Charlotte, Hurricane Matthew began making its way up the southeastern coast and our counterparts in Florida began sending requests to North Carolina for resources with the anticipation of severe damage and a large population to be affected. The MHPC was contacted to begin assembling clinical staffing and Mass Casualty Buses to assist Florida. After the damage in Florida was evaluated the morning following landfall, it was determined that resources from North Carolina and the MHPC were not needed. As Hurricane Matthew made its way toward South Carolina requests for a bus to assist with the evacuation of nursing facilities came in. MHPC worked with the Mecklenburg EMS Agency to coordinate this response, and movement of patients within South Carolina. At the same time, the MHPC began receiving requests for assistance from local Assisted Living Facilities who where receiving evacuated residents from sister facilities in South Carolina.

Hurricane Matthew slammed into the North Carolina coastal cities on Saturday, October 8th at approximately 11am. Generally, we think of hurricanes as high-wind producing storms that tear down trees and destroy homes. Instead, in the days following the storm, high volumes of floodwater overtook the rivers, dams, and dikes that surround cities as far as 150 miles from the coast.

MHPC began deploying Ambulance strike teams (AST’s) to the most severely affected areas in North Carolina on Friday, October 7th. Over the course of the event, the MHPC deployed three different AST waves comprised of staff and ambulances from seven different EMS agencies. On Sunday, October, 9th, personnel from the MHPC, multiple EMS agencies, two hospital systems and one public health agency deployed to Benson, Kinston and Goldsboro to staff medical shelters and the Emergency Department Unit of the Mobile Disaster Hospital. The MHPC also coordinated backfill EMS staffing for Columbus County EMS. On Tuesday, October, 11th, a request from Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Lumberton, NC was made to have Carolinas Med-1 deployed. Carolinas Med-1 served as additional emergency department beds and a fast track clinic.

This is a broad overview of the response to the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Each week we will be publishing a story that covers the details of each piece of the response. Stay tuned!