North Shore firefighter helping with medical needs in Florida after Irma

Posted at 10:00 PM, Sep 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-13 23:15:31-04

When Irma invaded Florida, North Shore Fire Lt. Pete Brierton and his team were already in place. They deployed last Tuesday.

"We're essentially the civilian version of the National Guard.  We're all medical specialists," Lt. Pete Brierton, North Shore Fire/Rescue.

Wisconsin-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team is working with the elderly, people with metal health issues and hospice patients who's homes are damaged or without power.

"People with limited mobility, with chronic significant health issues that require them to have nursing care or to be on oxygen," said Lt. Brierton.

The team has already helped more than 600 people at a shelter north of Tampa.  Once those needs are met they're prepared to set up shop further south.

"Within about five hours we can have a completely operational hospital and be self-sufficient for up to 72 hours," said Brierton.

Lt. Brierton said the worst of the flooding might still be on the way.

"As some of the inland rivers start swelling, they're looking at cresting tonight."

This could mean another influx of patients.

"Down here they appreciate Wisconsin.  I think we're doing a good job leaving a good impression," said Brierton.

The team will be deployed at least until the end of the month.