Las Vegas first responders helped transport and treat patients after Hurricane Harvey in Texas and also brought a new friend home in the process.
Teams from American Medical Response began traveling to Houston, Texas on Aug. 25, driving eight ambulances almost 20 hours and more than 1,200 miles to help those in need. During that time, AMR helped evacuate patients from local nursing homes in the disaster area and provided standby medical services to those sheltering at both the George R. Brown Convention Center and NRG Center in Houston.
Paramedic Lester Hernandez was among those deployed to Texas. While there, he encountered a stray puppy who needed a home.
"She had followed a lady to the shelter at George R. Brown Convention Center," Hernandez said.
Hernandez said Houston was found in a part of the city known for stray animals.
"We fed her about six cheeseburgers when we met her that day!" Hernandez said.
Hernandez brought the 8-month-old Collie mix home to Las Vegas. The dog, who has been named “Houston," even rode in the front seat of the ambulance during the trip.
AMR also assisted the Hardin County Volunteer Fire Service deal with the increased demand in 911 calls in Kountze, Saratoga, Sour Lake and Silsbee, Texas. Many of the AMR paramedics responding have previous experience in disaster response and have deployed to previous storms like Hurricane Katrina, Sandy and Ike in recent years.
The team drove more than 6,000 miles from start to finish of the deployment.
The Las Vegas-based AMR team of paramedics was also deployed to Florida on Sept. 10 to help victims of Hurricane Irma. They returned via flights on Sept. 13.
Nearly 100 patients were transported and treated in Texas, while nearly 150 patients were transported and treated in Florida.