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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

Surviving Sandy: When duty calls, we respond

Storms of Sandy's magnitude will tax not only local emergency response systems, but entire regions of the country

By Arthur Hsieh

I remember being on duty many years ago when a hurricane came through Boston. At the height of the storm, all units were advised to take shelter under overpasses and other major structures to keep out of the driving wind and rain.

Even so, I distinctly remember how the ambulance rocked back and forth on its wheels for an hour or more.

During that time, the city was eerily quiet, with very few calls being dispatched. With near perfect timing, just as the wind died down we were sent out on a run, and stayed busy the rest of the shift.

Storms of Sandy's magnitude will tax not only local emergency response systems, but entire regions of the country. With snow in the mountains, floods on the coast and winds everywhere, EMS providers will have their hands filled in the days ahead.

Epic events such as Sandy show that regardless of who you work for, when duty calls we respond.

Video showing the massive evacuation of New York Medical Center by a flotilla of ambulances serve as a reminder of the dedication of EMS crews who worked tirelessly through the night to mitigate a major disaster.

Strike teams from across the country worked alongside local crews to quickly move critical patients to area hospitals in windy, wet, blackout conditions.

Wherever you are today, stay safe as you perform your duties. Make sure to stay hydrated, get rest, and be careful to avoid injuries. We want you back, long after this event is over.

About the author

EMS1 Editorial Advisor Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. Since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at an EMS service in Northern California. Contact Art at
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