Thursday, June 9, 2011

North Dakota Deployment

Carole Kramer is an RN from the Greater Salt Lake Chapter of the American Red Cross. She was recently deployed to Bismarck, North Dakota to assist with spring storms and flooding. Here are 2 of her daily updates from the field.

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Saturday, June 4 broke brightly blue and warm.  A little different than we expected as the weatherman had called for rain and cloudy skies.  It was a nice mistake.  We still have no Health Services Supervisor in place so three of us R.N.'s got our heads together and figured out what we need for Shelter supplies, mobile supplies and supplies needed at Headquarters for Staff needs.  Lots of headaches and sore backs.  One of us from Indiana was appointed the Staff Wellness Nurse and progressed to getting things set up in a great manner.

The rest of us fillled out the "greenies" for requisitioning supplies for the Shelter.  We met with the nurse who has been working at the shelter, Glenna.  Glenna is the Mother of us all...she has taken us unsupervised RN's and together with lots of collaboration from each of us, the four of us got the forms needed, copied, separated and filed in an orderly manner.  We saw two shelter folks for various ailments and felt pretty good about being nurses, helping people.

The main thrust of the townfolks is to sandbag, sandbag, sandbag.  We've been out on the line making sure they are well protected, taking care of their own health and providing water and sandwiches as well as moral support.  We even loaded a truck with sandbags...believe me, they were heavy!

Four million is the goal and I think they will make it.  These people are determined to beat this river and to win the protection of their homes and those of their neighbors.  Everyone is helping everyone.  What a great community and what a privilege to help them any way we can.

We are heading to bed tired but very satisfied.

Sunday, June 5 is another beautiful blue sky day.  The town has organized a Throwdown to sandbag even more.  It's a party for the town, except they are working extremely hard to protect their town and property.  We were able to survey the river out of it's banks and the sight is awesomely sobering.  We are rooting for the town!  It's a swift, cold river at this point and very dangerous.

We were able to formulate a nursing checklist for the shelter nursing staff to use and are quite proud of the ease of it's use.  We are ready, organized and hoping we truly will not be sheltering 7000 people should the sandbagging fail.  Whatever happens, we are ready.  To date, we have nurses from Oregon, Indiana, North Carolina, Utah, Arizona,
and more are arriving today from someplace.  The amazing thing we found, which is always true with nurses, we work well together, see the problem and figure a way to help people....our goal.  We each have bonded fast and feel we've worked together for's only 3 days...amazing.

We did finally get a Supervisor and will meet with her tomorrow morning.

Tonight, we are hoping that the river will be kind to Bismarck, North Dakota and other cities downstream.  Whatever happens, we will care for the people and represent the Red Cross in a professional, happy and friendly manner.  Carole Kramer, RN, Greater Salt Lake chapter, Red Cross.  Honored to be here.

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