PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – Pender County officials wasted little time putting the extra ambulances and crews provided by FEMA to work.
“After just a few hours on assignment, the crews have already responded to five calls,” Stacey Wright, the division chief for Pender County Emergency Management Services, said on Wednesday.
The country received two “strike teams” earlier this week to help aid EMS crews swamped with COVID-19-related calls. One strike team was assigned to western Pender County with the other assigned to the eastern side.
“A lot of our calls are COVID-related,” said Wright. “The hospital has been extremely busy and sometimes our crews wait on average 1.5 hours. That means they are out of the area for a substantial length of time. Having the two extra crews will help us considerably.”
In response to a Sept. 10 request from state emergency management officials, FEMA sent 25 advanced life support ambulances with two-person crews to nine counties in North Carolina.
In addition to Pender County, four of those ambulances were assigned to New Hanover County and two were sent to Brunswick County.
The strike teams are expected to stay in their assigned counties for 10 days. State officials can request they stay longer, if the need is still there.
While Pender County officials say they haven’t missed any emergency medical service calls, the added help is a welcomed relief.
“We appreciate the assistance,” said Wright. “It gives our crews a chance to catch their breath.”
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