Students, faculty and staff engaged in addressing the needs of Hurricane Gustav evacuees temporarily relocated to Chattanooga.
On Friday, as the Emergency Operation Center prepared for evacuees, Assistant Professor Lisa Muirhead, MSN, ARNP-CS, ANP took students to the Amnicola Highway site for an overview from Bill Tittle, Hamilton County Emergency Management Chief. Later, the class visited the Chattanooga American Red Cross where John Hitchens addressed the group.
“People assume this is a sophisticated, well-staffed organization but they need to realize it is totally dependent upon volunteers,” said Muirhead. “I am very proud of the efforts of the Chattanooga American Red Cross and all that it has been able to do to provide relief for these evacuees.”
Muirhead and Linda Hill, CRNA, DNSc, APN Coordinator, Nurse Anesthesia Concentration in the UTC School of Nursing both volunteered over the weekend and assisted with triage. As evacuees exited the bus, Muirhead helped to register those with mental health needs, chronic health conditions and assessed those with urgent health needs. Hill assisted with the second triage on Sunday.
On Wednesday, Muirhead took students to the Red Cross shelter at the East Brainerd Recreation Center.
“We took a tour of the facility and shelter area, talked to evacuees about their experience and the way the experience has affected the children,” said Megan Fuller, a nursing student. “It was community health nursing in action—we got a bird’s eye view.”
Nursing student Taylor Walker agreed. “It was an endearing experience and great to see how the people of Chattanooga came together to meet the needs of the evacuees. From childcare, to donations, to pet care—it is a very empowering situation and great to know that if an emergency happened in Hamilton County, the government and American Red Cross know how to address the problem.”
On Thursday morning, UTC served breakfast to evacuees at the Brainerd Recreation Center. Student Government Association representatives and other student groups participated.
(L-R): Whitney Walker, Ruth Lightsey, Hector Vasquez (American Red Cross),
John Hitchens (American Red Cross), Carey Marlow, Megan Harris