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PALESTINE, April 18, 2013— Palestine Regional’s Emergency Medical dispatch received a call last night at 9:11p.m., from ETMC requesting deployment of the AMBUS to West, Texas, in response to an explosion at a fertilizer plant.
At that time, it was reported that 100 to 150 persons were injured and response teams were still evacuating the injured.
The AMBUS was deployed, including team members Sherry Boyd, James Broome, Wayne Frentress Jr., Keith Graves, Mark Neel, Chad Steely, Beverly Warren. This team of seven learned while en route that the situation had changed to state-level deployment and were prepared for situation ahead.
The team arrived on scene about 12:15 a.m., and made contact with incident commander. The AMBUS was put on standby and remained on the scene, pursuant to request, until cleared from the situation around 5:30 a.m., this morning. Lesa Wells, Marketing Director of Palestine Regional Medical Center, obtained this report from Mark Neel who was on the scene all night, along with other team members.
The AMBUS is licensed as a specialty emergency medical services vehicle and designed to serve as mass casualty transportation during events such as this. It can also be used to care for the sick and injured on-site, as well as transport emergency responders across a variety of incidents which may threaten the health and safety of those in our region and across the State of Texas. There are only eight AMBUS assigned to the State of Texas and Palestine Regional Medical Center is home to one of these extraordinary vehicles.
Ms. Wells finds it interesting that Palestine Regional’s Emergency Medical dispatch received a call at 9:11p.m. “911 is a recurring number associated with the AMBUS” she says. It was on 9/11 last year that the AMBUS initially arrived at PRMC. I recall that when Christi Watkins, Chief Clinical Officer, who was instrumental in securing placement of the AMBUS at PRMC learned that the AMBUS would arrive on the afternoon of 9/11 she smiled and said “wow, what a coincidence.” Also, on the day the AMBUS arrived at PRMC, the United States and Texas flag were lowered to half-mast in remembrance of 9/11 and Patriots Day. Yesterday, the same flags were lowered to half-mast, in remembrance of the tragedy and lives lost in the recent bombing incident at the Boston marathon.
Mrs. Watkins says “It was a privilege to respond with the AMBUS in support of the people of West. Our EMS crew and this level of emergency service will always be available to those in crisis across the State of Texas. Our thought and prayers are with the victims and their families today.”
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