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First responders heed the call during Irma

Posted at 8:34 PM, Sep 11, 2017

The calls that Jason Jamerson and Soneath Sao went on Sunday night where no different than other medical calls.

“We had a cardiac call, an OB call," said Jamerson.
"One was a severe respiratory distress call," said Sao.

But the vehicle they traveled in was different. Very different.  The crews teamed with St. Lucie County Sheriff deputies in an MRAP, a military vehicle that could go where firetrucks and ambulances couldn't.

 “It was a breeze.  We had no problem driving down road, no other problems," said Jamerson.

The partnership between the St. Lucie County Fire District and the sheriff’s office was put into place just four months ago and based on its first run, went better than expected.

“The chief and I discussed these matters and we had the vehicles I assured him could get out in weather of this magnitude," said Sheriff Ken Mascara.

A woman died during Hurricane Matthew last year in part because no one could reach her.

“There’s nothing more frustrating for a firefighter, a paramedic, a first responder then to have all the experience, skills, knowledge and training and you can't get where you need to be," said Chief Buddy Emerson.

The MRAP gave these first responders the confidence to do their jobs in less than ideal conditions.

“Pretty sure we went over some trees and a couple of power poles and it was a pretty good jolt in the MRAP so I couldn't’t imagine what it would be in a rescue truck.  But we felt secure and knew there was nothing that was going to be able to stop us," said Sao.