By Greg Argos

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–Many of Puerto Rico’s hospitals battered by Hurricane Maria are still relying on generators for power, but there are a group of first responders from the Philadelphia area already on the ground helping to treat those with the most serious injuries.

“We can set up a mash type unit, called a boo, where we’re able to have patients come directly to us there and we’re able to treat them as if they’re in an emergency room,” said Pam Forster, with Pennsylvania’s 4th Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

Eight of its members are already in Puerto Rico, including Pam’s husband.

“He helps to track when patients are being airlifted from an island to a medical facility here in the United States or one of the other islands.”

The team flew out within hours of the hurricane hitting Puerto Rico.

And before those mobile emergency rooms can be built, so-called strike teams immediately hit the ground and head to remote areas where help is most needed.

“We have IV solutions, we have the IV start kits, oxygen, tubing,” said Forster.

They carry kits like a 50-pound “Thomas Pack” on their backs and start treating the most critical patients.

Now Forster says two more members plan to head to Puerto Rico very soon, one of whom is leaving tomorrow.


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