A grass fire broke out in Stevens County, Kansas that quickly spread into western Haskell County. Fire crews worked to try containing the fire amidst winds estimated at 60 mph. By the middle of the afternoon the fire had jumped a blacktop road that was expected to control the fire’s spread. Once breached, it was determined that evacuation of the City of Santana was needed to protect the citizens. Smoke and blowing dust had reduced visibility to approximately 2 blocks. During the evacuation visibility was often only to the front of the hood of each vehicle.
Santana Long Term Care Home had 36 residents and 2 spouses to be evacuated. Grant County was known to have purchased Response Systems’ Mass Medical Evacuation Unit and were contacted to assist with moving the patients. Dubbed the Southwest Emergency Response Vehicle (SWERV), the multipurpose unit was called into action and immediately began the process of evacuation of the Santana LTC facility. Santana personnel were extremely pleased with the quick set up and ease of use of the ramp for wheelchair bound patients.
The SWERV bus was utilized to transport residents to and from their evacuation site. In total, 29 patients were transferred as well as all the equipment and supplies that were needed for ongoing resident support. Wheelchairs and collateral equipment were easily loaded into the bus. The ramp made it very easy to load bulky supply containers. Wheelchairs were secured via e-track system eliminating the need to move patients onto less secure bench seating for transport.