“Three firefighters from the Graham Fire and Rescue Department are joining a Pierce County contingent of trauma experts heading to the beleaguered country of Haiti this week. Once in the capital city of Port-au-Prince they will be providing secondary medical care to survivors of the Haitian earthquake.
Paramedic Jared Bonea will accompany firefighters Casey Hill and Troy Flowers, and all three will be in Haiti for seven days. They are part of a weekly rotational system of caregivers being organized to provide medical services in a growing number of emergency field hospitals throughout the country.
In Pierce County, this effort is being coordinated by an agency called the Tacoma Trauma Trust, a coalition of first responders and other trauma professionals, along with a group nurses and clinicians from Tacoma General Hospital.
Bonea told The Dispatch that his team will dispense post-trauma recovery care, such as changing bandages and monitoring wounds, administering medications, and providing post-amputation treatments.
The Graham firefighters will be working in a temporary hospital established in an amusement park on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince , and they will be relieving a Pierce County team currently on site.
In addition to the Graham team, the group is composed of two paramedics from the Tacoma Fire Department, two trauma physician assistants from Tacoma General and one paramedic from the Lacey Fire Department.
A similar effort is being conducted by Doctors without Borders, and Central Pierce firefighter Brett Martinson has just returned from his week-long deployment with that group.
Graham’s contingent is traveling first to the Dominican Republic, and then driving by truck to Haiti. Their flights are being offered gratis by Alaska Airlines via their [partnership with] “Angel Flights West,” program, a service of the airline’s nonprofit division that collects frequent flyer miles from contributing customers and then donates them to rescue groups or bereaved families who cannot otherwise afford to travel for needed medical care or to attend funerals.
Each individual on the team is volunteering their time, and the group will also be traveling with some food and donated medical supplies,” quoting The Dispatch of Pierce County & printed here with permission.
Dispatch Reporter Bruce Smith tells the Yelm Community Blog,
“Some Thurston County firefighters are also joining the project to rotate paramedics into the emergency field hospitals for a week at a time.”