The 2010 earthquake devastated the island nation of Haiti. This tragic disaster resulted in more than 220,000 lost lives, an additional 300,000 injured and nearly 1.5 million displaced Haitians who couldn’t return to their homes. Responding to this disaster were multiple relief agencies including BCFS Health and Human Services EMD. This nonprofit organization supports disaster areas around the world through emergency management, medical sheltering, mass care, and displacement services that save lives and help rebuilding efforts. It partners with federal, state, and local governments as well as private industry groups to reduce the impacts of various natural disasters.
With more than 15% of the Haitian population displaced and massive numbers injured, local medical care facilities were pushed beyond capacity. EMD responded to the disaster by sending expert medical teams to orphanages throughout the Port au Prince area. Discussion about the success of these teams quickly reached other medical care centers, including the Hospital Adventist in Carrefour. The team was reassigned to this hospital and immediately discovered the facility desperately needed command, control and coordination.
The BCFS Health and Human Services EMD team implemented the proven incident command system (ICS) to the hospital, and quickly trained staff on following the related protocols. The team and the amazing local staff overcame language and cultural differences and a chaotic landscape to add structure to the medical care process which resulted in seeing more patients and generating better outcomes. To offer further support, the organization deployed DMST and IMT staff members to manage the hundreds of inpatient and outpatient people that needed care in the 50-bed hospital. Working every day for six weeks, the organization’s team members leaned on their experience with medical sheltering and complex field operations to save lives and help the country recover.