Local EMTs go to help with Hurricane Ike

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By Ralph Damiani

Los Alamos has sent a medic unit with two EMTs to assist in any support efforts necessary as the result of Hurricane Ike, reports Fire Chief Doug MacDonald.

“The deployment is for eight days,” MacDonald said. “But these deployments have a way of stretching into 14 days.”

MacDonald said that Daniel DeVall and Eric Christensen volunteered for the deployment.

The department was notified by the New Mexico Department of Health that a deployment to help with relief efforts for Hurricane Ike would be required.

“We have been anticipating this authorization notification since yesterday evening,” MacDonald said.

It is unsure exactly where the team will go as the hurricane has changed course.

“It seems now to be moving more toward Galveston,” the chief said.

This call from the state initiated the deployment of one medic unit and two firefighter/EMT-I, MacDonald said.

“Our unit will initially stage in Carlsbad, with the anticipation of a New Mexico convoy of 12 medic units and 25 personnel and move forward later tonight or early tomorrow to San Antonio,” MacDonald said.

The Associated Press reported that four New Mexico National Guard helicopters, a mobile operations center and two dozen guardsmen are headed to Texas to help with Hurricane Ike.

Nearly 1 million people along the Texas coast were ordered to evacuate ahead of the storm, which is expected to strike late today or early Saturday.

The New Mexico Guard on Thursday sent two Black Hawk helicopters and their crews from Company C, 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion and two UH-1 helicopters from Detachment 2, 812th Medical Company to stand by for search and rescue missions, said Guard spokesman Tom Koch.

The Guard’s mobile joint operations center and four soldiers out of Santa Fe also left for Texas to help with a communications network for law enforcement and first responders.