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Iowans return after helping with hurricane relief

Damage from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Photo Date: 9/20/17
Damage from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Photo Date: 9/20/17(WHSV)
Published: Nov. 30, 2017 at 11:00 AM CST
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Four Iowans have returned home after assisting the federal medical response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria as part of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS).

Frank Fleming, a registered nurse from Iowa City, Mark Johnson, a sheriff's deputy from Vinton, Jessica Peckover, a behavioral health official from Cedar Rapids, and Kathleen Weber, a

pharmacist from Springville helped with relief as part of NDMS.

The Iowans serve as a member of an NDMS Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

During the response to Hurricane Maria, NDMS personnel along with U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers have provided care to more than 32,100 residents affected by the storm. NDMS members and USPHS officers provided care to more than 2,000 people affected by Hurricane Irma.

“Dedicated members of the NDMS from around the country have been vital to the medical responses to Hurricanes Maria and Irma and providing needed care to those affected by these devastating storms,” NDMS’s Acting Director Ron Miller said. “NDMS’ goal is to provide the best care in the worst of times, and we will be there to serve until states and territories no longer need us.”

Personnel deployed to the U.S. Virgins Islands and Puerto Rico provided care, helped stabilize health care systems, and restored services to meet residents' needs.

As part of the response to Hurricane Irma, NDMS members operated a mobile medical unit in the Florida Keys. They supported temporary care sites in the state along with U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers. Medical teams provided care at a shelter in Puerto Rico. The teams also embedded with Urban Search and Rescue to find patients and helped the U.S. Virgin Islands in evacuating the patients to Puerto Rico.

The NDMS is made up of about 5,000 medical public health, and emergency management professionals.