Disaster relief work: Advance notice helped Isaac preps - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Dr. Mona's disaster relief work: Advance notice helped Isaac preps

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Hundreds of people on the Gulf Coast are in shelters, waiting out the ongoing effects of Hurricane Isaac.

As we wait and worry, I can't help but think back to almost exactly 7 years ago when my federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team was "boots to the ground" after Hurricane Katrina.

From a group of new mothers clutching their newborns to wheelchair-bound nursing home residents, I helped in urgently offloading Hurricane Katrina evacuees from military choppers and then provided medical care for them at New Orleans International Airport.

Devoid of food, water, working toilets and other facilities, the airport was not an appropriate shelter to protect any evacuee, much less our most vulnerable people with health conditions that required medication, IVs, wound care, and catheter changes among other needs.

When it comes to weather disasters, the one thing we have on our side is advanced notice so that we can prepare for the worst – at the levels of local, state and national government as well as on an individual basis, since we best know our own specific needs.

There are important precautions we should all take to mitigate the effects of any disaster, no matter where we live.

For Hurricane Isaac, federal assistance has been in place for a week, so hopefully we won't see the same scenario repeated.

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