Local paramedics, AMR official deployed to hurricane zone in S.C.

Courtesy photo AMR ambulance service regional director Chris Stawasz departed Thursday for South Carolina, where he and four AMR paramedics from Nashua will be taking part in post-Hurricane Florence operations.

NASHUA – The regional director of American Medical Response ambulance service and four paramedics have been deployed to the area expected to be hit the hardest by Hurricane Florence.

Chris Stawasz, who oversees AMR operations in Nashua and Manchester, said Thursday afternoon, he was preparing to depart from Manchester-Boston Regional Airport bound for Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he will connect with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials to get his assignment.

Upon arrival, he will join the hundreds of first-responders deployed to southeastern states, mainly the Carolinas, as part of a nationwide FEMA activation.

Stawasz said he will be assigned to the AMR command center in South Carolina to work as a public information officer. The position includes responding to media inquiries and issuing updates and emergency bulletins to the public, typically through media outlets and FEMA’s own notification system.

The other two command centers are in North Carolina and Virginia.

The company contracts with cities and towns in 40 states to provide emergency medical care and transportation. The firm has served Nashua and Manchester for several years.

AMR Nashua paramedics Jason Preston, Ian Wyman, Mark Beaulieu and Glenn Gaumond were deployed earlier this week and arrived at their assigned command post Wednesday, Stawasz said.

The two-man crews drove two AMR ambulances to their destination, he said. As is the practice nationwide, the crews were followed by fuel trucks in case they run low on fuel in areas where no fuel is available.

While Stawasz is scheduled for a five-day deployment, the four paramedics are prepared for a 21-day stint, but they could be released earlier depending on the need for their services in the post-hurricane days and weeks.

According to AMR’s national headquarters, the firm also operates an air ambulance service, through which it transports patients in both emergency and non-emergency situations.

“Responding to natural disasters and hurricanes the magnitude of Florence is what our teams and providers do very well,” Ted Van Horne, national AMR President and CEO, said.

Mobile canteen units, agency officers and trained volunteers from the division, which includes New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, will be the first to mobilize.

They will likely be sent to a staging area in Charlotte, North Carolina, as soon as possible after Florence makes landfill, the statement said.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DeanS.