Pafford EMS employees mobilized as part of Florence efforts

(submitted photo)

Ryan Phillips

Emergency responders from across the country have deployed to aid those impacted by Hurricane Florence, including some from Mississippi and Starkville.

The company said it was notified to deploy on Sept. 11 and within three hours of notification by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), 13 company ambulances, two wheelchair vans, and a supply trailer deployed with 31 disaster-trained and experienced paramedics and EMTs from Pafford EMS operations in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

Pafford EMS Oktibbeha County Manager Tony Fabela was the only employee of the local company to be mobilized to South Carolina and said on Sunday that he has not been deployed or had any missions yet, as emergency responders wait to see where the greatest need will be once the skies clear.

“With all of the flooding that has happened with the storm dumping so much rain, they are waiting to see if there will be any flash flooding or dams giving way and all that,” Fabela said. “At this point, everything is holding strong and they’re only using state assets and haven’t started using the national FEMA assets.”

As part of the federal response, Fabela said there are approximately 450 crew members, with roughly 225 ambulances standing by in multiple locations, such as Garner, North Carolina and Stone Mountain, Georgia. One group mobilized to Virginia has already been demobilized.

The group is currently staging in Spartanburg for assignments related to Hurricane Florence disaster relief.

Aiding in storms efforts is not a new concept to the Pafford EMS Special Response Teams. Last year and into 2018, the teams spent more than 250 days away from traveling to Texas, Florida and the Virgin Islands in the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Maria.

The company’s Special Response Teams also deployed to offer service during the massive and deadly wildfires in northern California.

Pafford said in a press release the company is frequently deployed by FEMA due to its ability to produce an immediate response, because of the teams’ self-contained operations and due to Pafford SRT members’ experience and demonstrated skills.

Pafford COO and team leader in Spartanburg Clay Hobbs said their mission is to assist those in need during these natural disasters, which plays a part in how the company operates day-to-day.

“Therefore, we recruit, train and staff adequate resources in all our service areas so we can quickly mobilize our SRT teams for deployments,” Hobbs said. “Of course, regardless of these deployments, we are also adept at maintaining uninterrupted and on-time service for the on-going 9-1-1 calls in all our service areas.”