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Local medics return from Superstorm Sandy duty

3 complete two-week trip; 5 sign up for second term

Local Medics Return From Superstorm Sandy

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Two local paramedics returned home over the weekend to share there experiences volunteering to help during Superstorm Sandy.

Eight paramedics and emergency medical technicians from southern Colorado worked for two weeks in the aftermath of the historic storm along the East Coast. 

Among the volunteers was John Mira, a paramedic with the Fountain Fire Department who also works part-time for American Medical Response ambulance company; and Daniel Campbell, a full-time paramedic for AMR.  Mira and Campbell were partners during their volunteer duty.

"We didn't sleep for the first 36 hours that we were there," said Mira.  "We flew to Atlanta, drove to New Jersey in ambulances and ran continuous missions.  We evacuated hospitals and nursing homes that didn't have power or were flooded."

Mira said he and Campbell carried patients out of buildings nearly 20 stories high.

"I've never been to New York City and that was kind of a big deal for me," said Campbell.  "There were a lot of people there and a lot of despair."

Mira said at one point, New York police were called in to restore order after a mob of disgruntled residents formed around ambulances to demand medical care from the volunteers. 

"They were looking for and causing destruction," Mira said of the mob.

Mira said he and Campbell gave away some of their food and blankets to people in need.

The nature of the duty required paramedics to virtually live in their ambulances.  The medics slept on a stretcher or a padded bench.  In most cases, a laundry service was provided to the medics -- with one exception.

"We (evacuated) a nursing home, and across the street was a laundromat," said Mira.  "So I let the guys go over and do their laundry after we had finished our mission."

Mira and Campbell said they were glad to help people in need after the storm.  Mira said he also volunteered during Hurricane Isaac earlier this year, but this is the first disaster response for Campbell.

Of the eight southern Colorado volunteers who responded to Sandy, three have returned home and five signed up for another two weeks.

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