MFD shares daily status reports during strike team deployment

Published on October 23, 2018 with 2 Comments

After Hurricane Michael surged through the panhandle, Milton Fire Department (MFD) deployed to Washington County to assist with a strike team from Santa Rosa County. While there, MFD team compiled daily status reports. To read the previous story click here.

We have constantly encountered people who are thanking us saying they can’t believe we are here; they didn’t think anyone would be here for them.  It’s really been moving.  The locals are really doing everything they can to help each other but the whole area is so overwhelmed.

A photo of I-10 east bound from the dash of the team on their way to Washington County.

Day 1 – Thursday, October 11, 2018

Good evening.

It was a good day today.  We arrived safely and were eventually assigned to work with a Washington County EMS crew.  We we’re sent to a chest pain call.  It took us several hours to cut our way in with the assistance of several local citizens and their heavy equipment.  We eventually were unable to go any further and sent the medic and [a firefighter] on an ATV to check on the patient.  The entirety of the call took 4 or so hours.  We did not transport.  We then went to an unknown medical [call].  Upon arrival we found the road totally impassable.  There was a group of citizens walking out and we made contact.  They reported a knee injury patient and a possible signal 7 at another house on the road.  We started cutting our way in.  After approximately an hour we turned it over to Washington Public Works.  We were then released and returned to Washington EOC where we ate and are cleaning up and waiting to turn in for the night after Briefing the EOC staff.  We are still assigned to run with our EMS crew and will run with them tonight.  Tomorrow I think we will have Milton PW with us.  We should also have the county PIO (Public Information Officer).

In my opinion this is a very worthwhile mission.  We have constantly encountered people who are thanking us saying they can’t believe we are here; they didn’t think anyone would be here for them.  It’s really been moving.  The locals are really doing everything they can to help each other but the whole area is so overwhelmed.

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Day 2 – Friday, October 12, 2018

Greetings

Sorry it’s so late.  We had a good day again.  We worked all day in the city of Chipley.  This morning we had the County’s PIO riding with us.  She took a lot of pictures and videos.  We cleared some roads, met with citizens, conducted several welfare checks – requests from people who flagged us down worried about their family, and checked some houses that had large trees through them.  After meeting with the Chipley Fire Department, we were returning to the EOC when we were dispatched to a structure fire.  We arrived 2nd due.  The Navarre Beach / Midway crew on Engine 22 put the fire out prior to our arrival.

 

In the afternoon we returned to Chipley and continued checking houses.  We made several contacts and ran a natural gas leak call.  A woman flagged us down to say her elderly mother and her 11 year old son were at the house and it had a strong gas smell.  She showed us the way to get there.  As we approached the duplex (very much like the complexes at Hillcrest Circle) we had strong smell.  We called for public works and checked the meter.  It was turned off and apparently leaking past the valve.  We removed the residents and stood by until PW arrived.

Today I think our biggest accomplishment was talking to people; giving them a chance to decompress and share their experiences.  For our part we let them know that we are here for them and more help is on the way.  Yesterday I spoke at length with the EMT about her situation.  She told me today how helpful it was to talk.  I was able to put the skills gained in that CISM class we took this summer.

 

And thanks again for the cots.  They will be a life saver.  Last night we slept on a tarp on the ground next to the truck.  We had made arrangements with EMS to stay in their ready room after the extra crews dispersed, but a water main break in Vernon kept them here.  Beautiful night sky, hard ground.

 

Thanks again for the support and the opportunity to help these people.

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Day 3 – Saturday, October 13, 2018

Good evening.

Today has been a long day.  Its 8:49 and we are just on our way back to the EOC after eating.  They divided the County in half and I served as Division 1 Officer.  We were teamed with Rescue 25 from the City of Miami and the Pace crew.  We were initially tasked with welfare checks but before even starting, we were sent to help set up a POD (Point of Distribution).  As we were about to leave for that we were sent to a generator fire spreading in the grass.  Due to the long country road we were beat to the fire by the local volunteer department that was only a couple blocks away.  We cancelled on that and diverted to the POD.  We helped there until the National Guard arrived to take over.  We then started welfare checks.  I made the decision to force entry into one property due to a large tree on the house and car and a dog tied up on the yard.  The neighbors said they had not seen them.  During these checks we were diverted to a call for a woman trapped in her house since the storm.  With the assistance of the SRCSO we cut about 100 yards into her house and then with Miami’s Rescue transported her to a friend’s house.  Late in the afternoon we were sent to help cut a road for a lady calling for help.  We spent 3-4 hours cutting a walking path for her to get out.  Their public works left a large piece of equipment stuck in a bog.  They will be back out to get it tomorrow I guess.

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Day 4 – Sunday, October 14, 2018

Hello from Mary K. Smith Elementary School.  We’ve been evicted from the EOC and moved to the school with everyone else.  We will miss our EMS ready room with just us in there.

Today we were teamed up with another Miami Rescue.  We did more house checks and community outreach.  A point of interest, we got a chance to work with the “Cajun Navy”.  I think the emphasis is on Cajun.  We also worked on damage assessment for the county.

The people here have continued to be incredibly thankful for our presence here.  We are constantly being offered food and a heartfelt thank you.  This has been an incredibly rewarding experience.  Over all I have really felt like I was accomplishing some good for these people.

As is often the case with these types of staging areas, the food was not good at all last night.  So tonight we took Washington County EMS up on their offer for dinner.  They fed all fire and EMS here; Jacksonville EMS, Miami EMS, AMR, Rural Metro, and several ambulance companies I’ve never heard of.

I don’t have anything to report on the coming home front.  Rumors galore.  It is my understanding that they are in a meeting to discuss our demobilization right now, so I guess we will find out the real deal tomorrow.

The team returned to Milton October 15, 2018

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  1. A heartfelt thank you for coming to the aid of one of our sister counties. I know sacrifices your team have made in assisting our local departments. May God Bless you.

  2. Thank you all for everything yall did i live in chipley everyone was so devastated didnt know who would help us yall was here agsin ty

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