Helping Galveston Through the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season with BCFS Health and Human Services EMD

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BCFS Health and Human Services EMD, a leader in emergency management and medical care services, provides care for people displaced by disasters as well as responders. The organization’s medical care, displacement, and sheltering capabilities are part of a collection of nonprofits that offer vital aid to groups around the globe.

During the particularly destructive 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season, BCFS Health and Human Services EMD was called into action to the Galveston, Texas area. This season caused more than $50 billion in damages across multiple states. Galveston was especially hard hit by Hurricane Ike, which displaced residents and put enormous strain on local and regional organizations to provide the necessary care and support.

During the 2008 hurricanes, EMD operated turn-key medical shelters to meet the needs of thousands of people per day. It helped more than 17,000 evacuees and disaster responder personnel by providing medical care and other essential services. The organization’s efforts included relocating evacuees to nearby Galveston Island in October of 2008, while still providing these people with medical assistance and transportation services.

A core part of EMD’s work during this time was the building and management of Federal Medical Stations (FMS), facilities that provide necessary supplies and emergency medical services. Designed to meet the needs of 250 people, each FMS offers beds, access to a laboratory and pharmacy, and base-supporting services such as administrative and infrastructure needs.

EMD managed two of the three Texas-located FMS’ built for the 2008 hurricane response, with the federal government managing the third. Each service offered prescription management, vital sign monitoring, bed services, and other capabilities to guests. The federally managed site required assistance from EMD with local organization collaboration and finding ways to streamline supply chains.

EMD’s skilled nursing teams addressed evacuees’ non-acute medical needs, including respiratory treatments for pulmonary disease.