Helping people recover from large-scale disasters is a core specialty of BCFS Health and Human Services EMD. As a nonprofit partner of federal, state, and local government, and private industry, we provide a range of services to help save lives and mitigate the impacts of disasters. We specialize in multiple capabilities including mass care, medical sheltering, aiding displaced people, emergency management, and various other related practices.
The devastating earthquake of 2010 challenged the country of Haiti and pushed the limits of relief organizations. The earthquake was a devastating disaster for Haitians, claiming more than 220,000 lives and seriously injuring another 300,000. Nearly 1.5 million people were displaced from their homes after the earthquake, representing approximately 15 percent of the country’s total population.
EMD responded to the need for services in Port au Prince, Haiti by sending out experiencing medical teams to help the response efforts at local affected orphanages. Our medical team’s talents were recognized by local agencies, and the group was soon reassigned to Hospital Adventist in Carrefour, Haiti. This expanded the scale of our medical response and provided the hospital with needed assistance.
Upon our team’s arrival, they determined the hospital lacked command, control, and coordination which resulted in overworked medical staff and inefficiencies. These responders were doing the best they could under harrowing circumstances, but they needed some structure to help them perform. We established command and control and taught hospital staff the core incident command system (ICS) principles.
Despite language barriers and a country in chaos, the introduction of an ICS greatly streamlined care services and productivity. To further support the pressing medical need, we deployed additional DMST and IMT staff to manage 300 inpatients and hundreds of outpatients. We managed this facility every day for six weeks, leveraging our deep internal expertise with medical sheltering and field operations along with our extensive work with state and local jurisdictions around the globe.