Before Hurricane Laura hit the coast early Thursday morning, the AMBUS stationed in Hopkins County had already gotten the call on Monday and headed to a staging area near Beaumont to be ready to assist. They first transported eleven patients from a rehabilitation hospital to San Antonio and spent the night in San Antonio. The next day they were involved in a “heavy strike” team that involved 4 busses, 5 ambulances and strike team leader. A total of 68 patients were moved out of a nursing home in Newton in one hour with 22 of the patients on the Hopkins County AMBUS being relocated to Henderson. Those 22 patients transported at one time is equivalent to eleven regular ambulance transfers.
The newest team member, Dixie, is a purpose trained support canine that puts both patients and first responders at ease during these tumultuous times. The Hopkins County team also includes 2 additional ambulances and a command vehicle and involves 12 total crew members.
The AMBUS is a state sponsored emergency response vehicle program. The vehicle which is housed in Hopkins County is owned by the State of Texas and deployed (along with 12 other busses around the state) when disasters strike. All Hopkins County personnel and expenses involved in the state responses are reimbursed by the State of Texas.