NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The 2008 hurricanes highlighted gaps in our state's emergency preparedness. Since then, improvements have been made, including the use of mobile medical units that are stationed in regions across the state.
On Friday, the East Texas mobile medical unit was shown off at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital.
Emergency means quick action by the Southeast Texas Emergency Medical Task Force. Trained staff rolled up pulling a 36-foot trailer, unloaded, and set up shop in matter of minutes.
"So in 10 minutes, we go from a parking lot to a base of operation so they can start working out of," said Mark Sastre, the emergency medical task force coordinator.
The air-inflated, military-grade tent, complete with a heating and cooling system and powered by a super quiet generator, is actually a camper's envy.
But this facility is used in serious, life threatening occurrences.
"We deployed to the West Fertilizer explosion," Sastre said. We deployed to the bad weather and tornadic activity in the DFW area. We've been on standby for many large incidents across Texas."
This ability to erect a field hospital is reassuring to hospitals and their staff that during a time of need help will arrive.
"It allows us to have enough rooms and spaced area in order to triage and place people where we need them," said Sammy Avy, the trauma program manager for Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital. "Instead of having them out in the parking lot or anything like that we're able to actually organize chaos."
"The textbook model does come with staff, doctors, nurses, paramedics, clerks, etc., Sastre said.
The mission of providing collaborative planning and response to emergencies was achieved after the state recognized shortcomings to disaster preparedness. Future innovative plans will further enhance the safety of all Texas communities.
There's a lot more information about regional preparedness at the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council's website.