BCFS Health and Human Services: Helping Galveston Residents Through the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season


A vital partner of federal, state, and local government agencies, BCFS Health and Human Services EMD offers multiple capabilities to help areas recover from natural disasters. It provides mass care, medical sheltering, incident management, and disaster response services to evacuees and responders. The organization is part of a larger group of nonprofits that provide essential services to people throughout the globe.

During the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season, EMD brought its disaster response expertise to the severely affected Galveston, Texas area. That year’s hurricanes were particularly disruptive, and Galveston residents were devastated by Hurricane Ike, which was part of the broader $50 billion in damages sustained during the season throughout several southern states.

EMD’s assistance in Galveston included turn-key medical shelters capable of helping thousands of people per day. During the 2008 season, the organization’s services proved vital for more than 17,000 responders and evacuees. Some of its efforts included safely relocating evacuees from Galveston to nearby Galveston Island. And EMD continued to care for these people by providing medical care and transportation services to help them transition to post-hurricane life.

A core task for EMD during this response was the operation of Federal Medical Stations (FMS). An FMS is an emergency medical services and supplies facility that’s designed for up to 250 people at a time. It’s a base for medical staff to provide care, offer labs and pharmacy services, and to manage various administrative and infrastructure-related supplies. Three of these FMS were erected in Texas to help manage the 2008 hurricanes. EMD managed two, with the third operated by federal government staff members. Each center offered an array of medical care for evacuees and responders, including prescription administration, bed services, and vital sign monitoring, among others. With the third FMS, the federal government staff asked EMD for help in improving integration with other response organizations to streamline the supply chain management.

The nursing team at the EMD-run FMS conducted care regimens including dialysis appointments and aid with respiratory conditions and pulmonary disease complications. These offerings were just a part of the facilities’ care offered for both responders and evacuees who needed help during and after the impactful hurricanes.

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