County sends emergency help to tornado-ravaged Joplin, Mo.

By noon Monday the Johnson County Emergency Medical Service (MED-ACT) had dispatched five ambulances to Joplin, Mo., to assist in medical emergencies in the aftermath of a deadly tornado that struck the city Sunday evening.

The deployment to assist in Joplin involves 11 MED-ACT personnel. Three ambulance units, including a chief officer and five paramedics, were dispatched to the Missouri city about 4 a.m. Monday and arrived about 6:45 a.m. Two other units, with an additional five paramedics, were deployed before noon Monday along with a SUV for use by the chief officer.

“Our jobs are saving lives and providing medical assistance. Anytime there’s an emergency or natural disaster we are ready to go and assist wherever we are needed, both locally and regionally,” MED-ACT Chief Ted McFarlane said in a news release. “Helping people in times of crisis has no state boundaries. Joplin asked for our assistance, and we quickly responded.”

The units and personnel from Johnson County MED-ACT will be deployed for an initial 72 hours. The deployment will be extended longer, as needed, for rescue and recovery efforts in Joplin.

Nick Crossley, director of Johnson County Emergency Management and Homeland Security, said Johnson County would provide additional assistance, if requested and needed, in Joplin. The deployment of the MedAct units and personnel was requested Monday by the state of Missouri through the Kansas Department of Emergency Management to provide assistance to a federally-declared disaster site as authorized under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).

“I have been notified that there was an official EMAC request from the state of Missouri to MedAct to provide EMS assistance. This means that personnel costs and other costs associated with the deployment will be reimbursed by the state of Kansas,” he said.

The deployment to Joplin is the second time Johnson County personnel have been sent to a disaster region in another state within the past few weeks. Two employees – one from Emergency Management, the other from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office – returned only a few days ago after assisting for 10 days in Clanton, Ala., after a series of tornadoes that killed more than 300 people in Southern states.

“It is important to support our fellow citizens and the national emergency management system we have developed in the United States by providing assistance, when we can, to other jurisdictions. The system is set up so that jurisdictions from outside the impacted area can help those requiring assistance in times of disasters,” Crossley said.

The deployment of MED-ACT personnel to Joplin was occurring at the same time deputies from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office were being dispatched Monday to Reading, in the aftermath of a tornado that struck the small Lyon County community late Saturday night, killing one man.

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