Med services, power returning to Americus

March 4, 2007

Americus -- A new mobile medical facility will be up and running in the parking lot across from the hospital within a day.

The inflatable temporary triage center can handle up to 20 patients at a time, to help cover exertion, pregnancy, or illnesses. Several ambulances will be on hand to transport patients to area hospitals if needed.

For the past few days, Sumter Regional has also set up a temporary triage at First Baptist Church in Americus. They can't provide any inpatient services but can treat things like lacerations and refill medications.

"Under the circumstances I'm amazed at how much we've accomplished this quickly but we need to go a long way before we can provide for the health care needs of this community," said Dr. Ben Andrews.

Hospital officials expect the mobile triage unit to be up and running by Monday morning at the Mayo Street site.

And emergency medical are also mobile in Sumter County.  Life Flight is on standby in Americus to assist EMS with any emergencies. They're on hand just in case EMS needs to get patients to another emergency rooms or hospitals outside of the area.  

Patients would be able to be transported more quickly by helicopter rather than by ground. "We're going to be here as long as they need us, 24 hours a day," said Life Flight Nurse Maria Iler.   The Life Flight crews would be able to take patients to several counties.

So how's the power situation? It's still lights out for many Americus residents and businesses, and many streets are still closed as power companies continue to work.

Georgia Power officials say at least 700 workers from throughout the southeast region are in town trying to restore power. The Sheriff says after the storm struck 3500 people lost power.

Authorities estimate about 200 customers are without power tonight and they hope to have it all restored tonight.

"When the power goes out you have no water, no light, you can't cook, and it really is a devastating thing," said Georgia Power Area Manager Mike Donnelly.

Georgia Power hopes to have its power restored to all customers soon.