The Columbia Fire Department received a request on Sunday from the US Department of Defense’s Federal Coordination Center (FCC) to activate Metropolitan Medical Response Systems (MMRS) equipment and supplies managed by the CFD to help support the potential emergency evacuation of an unknown number of medical patients from Caribbean hospitals. CFD firefighters from St Andrews Station 6 and Olympia Station 2 were dispatched Sunday morning to provide manpower for the mission.
The effort, which will include the reception, triage and tracking of patients that will be temporary housed at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport for this purpose so that patients can be systematically dispersed to local hospitals.
The mission is being conducted under the auspices of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), which assists in the coordination of governmental, non-profit and medical emergency resources into a unified response to natural disasters and acts of domestic terrorism. NDMS is activated when an incident is so large that it overwhelms local agencies’ ability to respond with sufficient medical aid.
Response personnel from local, state and military agencies as well as 11 regional hospitals and healthcare facilities are preparing today to receive patients evacuated from islands decimated by Hurricane Maria. Military aircraft will be bringing an unknown number of patients to the Columbia airport for transport to South Carolina hospitals.
The CFD will continue to support this mission by remaining on standby to provide any additional resources requested to include a Metro Emergency Response Vehicle (MERV) maintained by the Columbia Fire Department.