Hurricane Ike & Texas Task Force

Challenge

When Hurricane Ike impacted the Texas coast in 2008, the State of Texas tapped BCFS Emergency Management Division (BCFS EMD) to command the health/medical branch of the state’s re-entry Task Force. Due to the massive devastation resulting from the storm, more than 1,000 assets had to be coordinated from around the state and moved into the small coastal community.

Tactics

Once on Galveston Island, BCFS EMD was tasked with managing the jurisdiction’s medical, public health, and EMS response; including operating the 9-1-1 system. Additionally, the Texas Division of Emergency Management tasked BCFS EMD with operating medical shelters for individuals with moderate to high-acuity needs in multiple cities throughout the state. During the course of several weeks, BCFS EMD housed more than 1,700 individuals with significant medical needs. Eventually, BCFS EMD was also tapped to operate the last general population shelter located on Galveston Island that housed more than 700 displaced persons seven weeks after the storm.

Outcomes

This mission became one of the largest medical task force mobilizations in U.S. history. BCFS EMD continues to contract with the Texas Division of Emergency Management to provide 500 turn-key medical shelter beds on an as-tasked basis anywhere in the state within 48 hours. This service includes all medical staffing, shelter management staffing, security, specialized food services, transportation, durable medical equipment, showers and toilets, badging, mobile communications, and all other supplies needed to operate fully functional shelters for persons with significant physical, medical and mental health needs.