Travis supports Hurricane Michael victims

  • Published
  • By Merrie Schillter Lowe
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Two Critical Care Air Transport teams from Travis Air Force Base, California, headed to Scott AFB, Illinois, Oct. 10 awaiting the call to support Hurricane Michael victims. The teams are embedding with the 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Scott AFB.

The CCAT team's role is to evacuate critically ill or injured military and civilian patients to a higher level of care or another medical treatment facility outside the disaster area.

Staging the team at a central location like Scott AFB allows the team to rapidly deploy to any states affected by the storm, said Maj. Micaela Lewis, 60th Medical Group chief of readiness.

"The team is designed to assist higher acuity patients who require a higher level of care during transport," said Lewis. “Staging out of Scott gives them the flexibility to respond to any of the states that need assistance."

CCAT is a three-person, highly-specialized medical team consisting of a physician who specializes in critical care or emergency medicine, a critical care nurse and a respiratory therapist.

Although they did not have to respond, four CCAT teams from Travis staged at Scott AFB in support of Hurricane Florence that battered the Carolinas in September.

Florence did provide some lessons. It revealed that CCAT may have to evacuate patients at small nursing facilities and rural hospitals.

"During and after Florence, the flood waters moved in," she said. “Some of the facilities were so far inland, they didn't evacuate.”

However, as the flood water began to rise, those facilities had to re-evaluate the situation.

“Our CCAT teams were on standby to assist any of these types of facilities that needed assistance evacuating their patients,” said Lewis.

The Air Force provides federal support to Defense Support of Civil Authorities in situations that normally would be handled by civil authorities, such as natural and man-made disasters, support to law enforcement and at special events as well as other domestic activities.

Although support elements are poised to assist, Department of Defense assets are traditionally one of the last levels of support, said Lewis.