Two medical-emergency personnel from Rutherford County are in Fort Myers, Florida assisting victims of Hurricane Ian, according to a press release from the county.
Emergency medical technician-paramedics (EMT-P) Peggy Woodard and Joe Pimentel have been completing a wide range of tasks including running 911 calls, evacuating hospitals and nursing homes, and providing stand-by coverage for recovery efforts.
“I am extremely proud of the willingness of RCEMS employees to volunteer at a moment’s notice to go and help the people in need,” Rutherford County Emergency Medical Service Director Brian Gaither said in a statement. “Our EMS providers are the true definition of a servant and show why we are known as the volunteer state. They did this knowing they would be gone from their families for up to 15 days. This county is blessed to have providers like Peggy and Joe.”
The pair is enduring “difficult living conditions including limited water, food, fuel and electricity” as most of the affected areas of Ian have been compared to Third World countries, according to the press release.
In a statement, Rutherford County Public Safety Director Chris Clark said, “We are extremely proud of their professionalism and desire to help those in need, and we are so blessed to live in the greatest state and county. The Public Safety professionals across this county are the finest out there!”
Rutherford County Mayor Joe Carr also released a statement on the pair’s mission, saying, “Our county is home to the most experienced and talented first responders that are so committed to community service they are willing to sacrifice the comforts of their own home to render assistance in the most harrowing conditions.”
On Tuesday, there were at least 110 confirmed U.S. fatalities due to Ian, according to AccuWeather.
“Although the death toll from Ian is fluid and historical numbers are inexact, Ian is likely the deadliest tropical system for the state of Florida since the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, which killed over 400 people,” AccuWeather Senior Weather Editor Jesse Ferrell said in a statement.
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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.