On March 24, 2020, the Louisiana Rural Ambulance Alliance (LRAA) entered into an emergency contract with the state of Louisiana to assist with COVID-19 response. With COVID-19 aggressively spreading throughout the state, units were requested to assist with emergency response in south Louisiana. As LRAA originally deployed 11 units to New Orleans and surrounding areas, that number quickly grew to 20 with the potential to add more.
Alliance members, including Advanced EMS, Med Express Ambulance Service and Acadian Ambulance Service, rapidly responded to the call for help by sending both Advanced Life Support (ALS) and Basic Life Support (BLS) units to the areas that were most heavily affected.
The biggest challenges facing providers is the limited access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). “The crews are doing great,” explained Rob Daughdril, LAA Emergency Response Coordinator. “Their biggest hurdle is having to wear PPE all the time and being away from home.” Teams are taking the necessary precautions to control the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses by thoroughly disinfecting ambulance units after each use. “We have a lot of hard surface areas and after every single run we wipe down, mop and disinfect the units,” explained Pam Mackey of Advanced EMS.
In an act of pure selflessness, well over 60 EMS practitioners are working under the contract. Mackey explained, “I did a lot of soul-searching when I was told we would have to send ambulances.” Mackey, like other providers and medical professionals alike have families and other concerns at home, yet they didn’t hesitate to lend their time and talent to help those in need.
A pandemic that has affected the entire world, COVID-19 has also brought unity and support for people everywhere. “The crews and providers working this deployment should be greatly commended for their work, dedication and sacrifice,” added Daughdril. “They are the true superheros.”
As the saying goes, “Not all super heros wear capes,” and LRAA members prove it!
About the Louisiana Ambulance Alliance
The Louisiana Ambulance Alliance (LAA) is a diverse group of EMS providers who promote emergency medical transport as a distinct concern in Louisiana; serve as a forum for a unified voice for healthcare providers, public officials, healthcare workers, educators and consumers working to improve emergency medical transport in Louisiana; provide a forum for the exchange and distribution of ideas and information related to the improvement of emergency medical transport; serve as an advocate for emergency medical transport, promoting improved health status and improvements to the health system for residents of Louisiana; and encourage the development of appropriate health resources for Louisiana.