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EMS leader heads toward the heart of hurricane’s destruction

Published: Sep 13 2017
EMS leader heads toward the heart of hurricane’s destruction - Photo
By 5 a.m, 24 hours after Hurricane Irma decimated Florida, Darci Grunett was headed into the heart of the destruction. And for her, that’s normal.

"In our field, we run toward things that others are running from,” Grunett says of her profession. She’s a veteran Paramedic with 27 years of service and BSC’s Emergency Medical Services/Paramedic Program Director.

Grunett and 22 others who are part of the North Dakota EPR (Emergency Preparedness and Response) Medical Volunteer Reserve team landed in Tallahassee Tuesday, and headed south to Miami. Grunett expects to be assigned to a medical shelter -- likely based out of Florida International University in Miami.

Medical shelters are for those with chronic serious illnesses who need medication or serious care – such as cancer patients, or those on ventilators or people with feeding tubes. The shelters maintain power through generators and medical staff provide the care needed until the situation stabilizes.

The group Grunett is traveling with for ND EPR includes four graduates of the BSC Paramedic Program. “I instructed them as students and now we are colleagues working together for the greater good. I love that.”

Grunett will continue to teach during her time in Florida. Her classes normally have a strong online component, and during her deployment they’ll move fully online. “The students are fairly independent and this is a great opportunity to see how they work when fully online.”

During her career Grunett has been deployed a number of times -- to Minot after the flood of 2011, to Cuba as part of a flight-based NICU team from New Mexico, and most recently to the Dakota Access Pipeline. She also has served on medical teams for seven AIDS rides and five breast cancer walks, among numerous other events around the country. This time around, she obtained permission from campus leaders within a few hours of getting the call to serve.

“I am so grateful that BSC would allow me to do this. It’s all about people in need, and I love the fact that BSC is so supportive.”

You can follow Grunett's journey on her blog – Faculty in the Field.