By: Nick Marinello
Perhaps in the coming weeks and months Andrew Jahier and his cohorts in Tulane Emergency Medical Services will reflect on their involvement helping victims of Hurricane Katrina, but in the immediate aftermath of the storm there just hasn't been enough time.
"We haven't had a chance to think about it, but it's something we definitely will remember," says Jahier, director of TEMS and a senior majoring in business management.
TEMS, which is staffed by Tulane undergraduates certified as emergency medical technicians, provides service to the uptown campus and surrounding neighborhoods.
Even before Katrina blew through the New Orleans area, a group of approximately 20 members of TEMS mobilized into a disaster-response team that initially provided care to fellow students evacuated by the university to Jackson, Miss.
As soon as the storm passed, the group packed up two ambulances and a trailer and left for the Louisiana emergency operation center in Baton Rouge to receive assignments.
"We did everything," says Jahier.
For the first few days, TEMS members helped in triaging patients at an improvised Baton Rouge facility that Jahier calls the "world's largest emergency room." They were soon sent to New Orleans, where some members joined in search and rescue efforts in St. Tammany Parish, while still others delivered drugs and medical supplies to the New Orleans Convention Center and facilities in Plaquemines Parish.
"I was impressed with our team and their leadership skills," says Jahier, who notes that TEMS members were often in charge of as many as 60 volunteers.
While the team is no longer working 20-hour days, they are committed to providing support as long as needed. "We just want to help and to do everything we can to help the city of New Orleans that we love so much," says Jahier.