Randolph Co. Paramedics Back Home After Week Long Storm Deployment

RANDOLPH COUNTY, NC -- After the devastation Hurricane Matthew left behind, it was all hands on deck to help with recovery in North Carolina.

First responders across the state and in the Triad quickly loaded up to help and it wasn't just the larger counties pitching in resources.

Randolph County sent paramedics, firefighters, and law enforcement to Columbus and Bladen Counties -- which are still dealing with flooding.

But by sending our local first responders there, does that put a strain on our local emergency services back home?

2 Wants To Know how emergency officials were able to spread their resources to make sure everyone stayed safe.

Randolph County is not one of the Piedmont’s biggest counties.

But they still sent a lot of assistance to eastern NC.

In total, Randolph County deployed two paramedics to Columbus County and 13 Deputies to Bladen County. Six Randolph County fire departments sent crews and equipment to different places.

While all those people were helping flood victims out east, local crews were working overtime to keep people safe back in Randolph County.

“It hasn't strained Randolph County at all,” said Donovan Davis, Director of Emergency Services in Randolph County. “There has been no compromise of our service by sending resources to the Southeast.”

Paramedics Victoria Pacheco and Crystal Pate can't wait to sleep in their own beds tonight.

They just got back from a week long deployment -- fielding 911 calls in the flooded town of Fair Bluff in Columbus County.

“You came in their main street and you saw flooding on both sides. You could look either way and see water,” said Pate.

“It's absolutely heartbreaking to know that everything they have worked hard for is just gone in a matter of days, minutes, seconds,” said Pacheco.

They were responding to calls in several feet of flooding.

In some places, cars, businesses, and homes were totally destroyed.

“I feel like in EMS, you have to have the heart to give,” said Pacheco. “Every day we go into the unknown but this definitely makes me appreciate what I have.”

Back home in Randolph County, their colleagues had their backs.

Part time EMS workers filled in for the ones who were deployed.

Full timers stepped up to work extra shifts and Davis says the same goes for the fire department and law enforcement.

“It's a great feeling to know that we can go and help and do what we can with the resources that we have with the personnel that we have,” said Davis. “It's also good to know that if it happens here in Randolph County, we know help is going to come to us.”

Pate and Pacheco said they never worried about their colleagues back in Randolph County because they’re so professional.

Pate says they formed lifelong relationships with the EMS workers, firefighters, and law enforcement personnel as well as the citizens they served in Columbus County.

“We were family by the time we got done. We almost didn't want to leave,” said Pate. “I started getting a little choked up when we left.”

"I would go back as soon as I sleep in my bed for one night and then I'll go back," laughed Pacheco.

Pacheco is scheduled to work a 24 hour shift starting at 8 a.m. Monday to 8 a.m. Tuesday!

Pate says she’s planning to take the day off.

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