Delivered to 25 clinics and health centers across the Gulf States in June, Direct Relief’s Hurricane Prep Packs stand at the ready as Hurricane Ida threatens the U.S. The Category 2 storm, carrying winds of up to 100 mph, is expected to bring heavy rains and flooding from Texas to Florida.
Today, Direct Relief has also offered its reserve inventory of hurricane-targeted medical material to its network of partners along the Gulf Coast. This designated inventory includes products identified during years of hurricane response and has been donated by Direct Relief’s network of pharmaceutical and medical manufacturers, including Abbott and the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.
“This year, we expanded our Hurricane Prep Program into Florida, while also covering our partners in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi,” explains Direct Relief’s Director of Emergency Response Brett Williams. “The best emergency response is smart preparation, which allows our partners to provide uninterrupted care to their patients when an emergency strikes. Support from Abbott since we started our hurricane preparedness program in 2007 has been a tremendous boost to our efforts.”
Designed to be portable, Hurricane Prep Packs contain enough materials to support care for 100 patients for three days, the time it usually takes to clear roads after an emergency. Contents include wound-care supplies as well as medicines to treat chronic conditions, and were informed by Direct Relief’s extended response to Hurricane Katrina as well as 2008’s Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Caring for low-income, uninsured and vulnerable populations on a daily basis, Direct Relief’s clinic and community health centers partners see a surge in patients during emergencies, when hospital emergency rooms are overloaded.
From June to November each year, hurricane season is unpredictable. During an active season, like 2008, Hurricane Prep Packs ensure that clinics and health centers have the materials they need to support patient care. The packs’ contents can be absorbed into the facility’s regular inventory if not needed during an emergency.
Emergency preparedness and response is one aspect of the assistance Direct Relief USA provides. Since 2004, more than $150 million in aid has been delivered to clinics and health centers across the country. Direct Relief is the only nonprofit with the licensing and accreditation necessary to provide pharmaceutical and medical material aid in all 50 states.
Direct Relief USA program staff is monitoring the situation with partners in the Gulf States preparing for Hurricane Ida and will apportion additional aid as needs arise.