Erlanger lends a helping hand to Florida

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(CHATTANOOGA, Tenn) – Electric crews from our area have been driving down to Florida and Georgia all weekend to help with Dorian’s aftermath. Now, Erlanger is stepping in to help too.

“Everybody said I really wanna help. It’s neighbors helping neighbors. This is just a wonderful thing and were just so happy to be part of this operation,” says CEO of Erlanger, Kevin Spiegel.

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Erlanger got the call last Thursday from FEMA to be on standby for Hurricane Dorian.

On Monday, Erlanger sent a helping hand to prepare for the storm.

They are one out of 20 Emergency helicopters nationwide that headed to Sarasota.

“Right now Sarasota was still very safe, it’s not impending. Any type of, any major storm surge or wind, things of that nature. They will deploy after the storm makes land,”says Director of Operations, Robbie Tester.

This is Erlanger’s third year in a row being asked to help with a natural disaster.

Erlanger’s CEO says they are happy to help other states out because you never know when Tennessee may be in need.

They have two full crews in Florida.

The employees are at a station preparing for what may come with the Hurricane.

Once the storm is there, they may change locations based on the damage or the needs.

“It will depend on what actually occurs, whether it’s been a hospital that has been effected in a specific area and they need to move patients or there’s communities that need patients moved to trauma centers, things of that nature. It just depends on what the injuries, illnesses , amount of devastation and that will evaluate where we actually go and what we do,”says Tester.

The CEO says this will be the flight crew’s first time assisting in a natural disaster, but they are highly trained for whatever the storm may bring.

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Joeli Poole joined the WDEF News 12 Team in April 2019 as a Reporter and Producer. You can find her reporting during the week and when not on camera; she's producing the 6 and 11 shows. Joeli grew up with a love for reporting, starting in middle school. She has been the anchor for her middle and high school TV stations, along with the Sports Anchor for her College TV Station. Joeli grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and moved to Tennessee when she 10 years old. She went to Cleveland Middle school and Walker Valley High School. She graduated in May of 2019 from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a bachelor's degree in Communications. Being from the area, Joeli loves being able to help tell the stories of her community. In her spare time, Joeli enjoys watching her LSU Tigers, hiking, and playing with her dog. Feel free to email any story ideas at jpoole@wdef.com.