By CASSANDRA SHOFAR
Hurricane Gustav could hit anywhere from the Florida Panhandle to eastern Texas next week, with Tropical Storm Hannah not far behind, and a local ambulance team is en route to Texas to work in the thick of it.
Medic EMS â€” a private ambulance company based in Medina and Wooster â€” contracted with the Federal Emergency Management Agency last year to help in the event of a national crisis, Medic EMS owner Jeffrey Scott said Friday evening, talking on his cell phone.
â€œWe got our orders last night around 11:15 p.m.,â€ he said, adding he and his partner, Steve Neff â€” who owns Medina-based SVFE Ambulette Service, a wheelchair provider â€” hit the road around 1 a.m. Friday.
â€œWe are tired, weary travelers right now,â€ he said with a chuckle.
The duo and their ambulance will report to an Air Force base in San Antonio, and will receive their deployment orders from there, Scott said.
â€œBecause weâ€™re one of the more heavily equipped vehicles that have more specialized equipment, a ventilator and medication that are above what a normal paramedic squad would carry â€¦ weâ€™re getting put right in the thick of wherever this thing is going to hit,â€ he said.
He added while they do not want people to get hurt and are nervous of putting themselves in harmâ€™s way, they are very excited at the same time.
â€œThis is what we live for; this is what put us in this job. So for us, this is just doing what we aspire to do,â€ he said. â€œWeâ€™re the first ambulance company in Medina County to be deployed, which is kind of an honor to us. Iâ€™m not aware of another EMS company in Medina County that has a FEMA contract.â€
Scott said Tropical Storm Hannah, which is predicted to become a hurricane, could follow in Gustavâ€™s wake, which could keep them there around 10 days.
â€œWeâ€™re in this job to help save lives and help other people,â€ he said. â€œWe wanted to make sure that we can help out wherever the need is.â€
Shofar may be reached at 330-721-4044 or firstname.lastname@example.org.