Heroes step up before they’re even needed.

And they are all about the greater good.

West Virginia is no stranger to this kind of public service.

Soon folks in Florida will be touched by it too.

That’s because a team of dedicated emergency medical service professionals are on their way to help prepare for Hurricane Irma’s impact.

Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority Chief of Operations Wayne Harmon said the crew left this afternoon in 10 ambulances for Tallahassee.

This 23-member team includes seven Kanawha County ambulances, one from Logan County Emergency Medical Services and two from Jan-Care out of Beckley.

They are slated to report to the Leon County Fairgrounds by 6:30 a.m., Friday.

This location in the Florida Panhandle is being used as a staging area and homebase while meteorologists better determine the monster storm’s track.

“They will be deployed from there for whatever they need to do,” he said.

Getting ready for the storm is a busy time.

Crew members may help evacuate facilities such as nursing homes, or supplement the efforts of local emergency services to set up shelters.

This state contingent of EMS professionals are trained for this experience, and have responded to several other hurricanes including Sandy when it came ashore just northeast of Atlantic City, New Jersey in late October 2012.

Previous on-site experience includes 30 days for Rita (in September 2005 when storm came ashore at Johnson’s Bayou, Louisiana), 10 days for Gustav (in September 2008 when storm came ashore at Cocodrie, Louisiana) and five days for Irene (in August 2011 when storm came ashore at North Carolina’s Outer Banks).

Despite the stress, these situations bring out the best in people, he said.

“Everywhere you go people come up and shake your hand. They are so appreciative and can’t stop thanking you for coming to help,” he said.

But this is their job, and helping comes naturally.

“It’s what we want to do,” he said.

Most recently they were on standby for Hurricane Harvey in Houston, but the call never came to report to Texas.

 

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