With the continuously unfolding impacts of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and surrounding states, the Virginia Office of EMS would like to post some reminders about disaster assistance. As EMS providers, we understand that you want to help and that you may feel compelled to want to travel to areas impacted by a major disaster. We request that you do not respond to any area of Virginia, or the country, that needs assistance, unless you have received a formal request. Requests for assistance from impacted areas will be routed through the Virginia Emergency Operations Center or as a result of involvement in the National Ambulance Contract. Those requests pertaining to EMS will be assigned to the Office of EMS, Division of Emergency Operations where they will be filled as applicable and appropriate.
Liability, safety, and accountability become major issues when self-dispatch to affected areas occurs, whether it is done by an agency or a single provider. Self-dispatching also places a strain on the response structure of the affected locality. Again, the best assistance you can provide is making yourself available to your local agency, not self-dispatching to the impacted areas.
In the event that we do receive a request for Virginia EMS resources to respond to Texas, the Division of Emergency Operations is compiling a list of resources that are both interested and available to assist. If you or your agency would like to be considered for deployment, if a request is received, please contact Karen Owens via e-mail – Karen.Owens@vdh.virginia.gov or phone – 804-888-9100.