Dallas serves as National Command Center for Hurricane Michael recovery

The death toll from Hurricane Michael now stands at 15, but it could continue to rise as crews search for the missing.

Hundreds of ambulances from around the country have descended on the Florida panhandle to help save lives in the wake of the storm.

“Ambulances are moving with patients all the way east and then go back into the theater,” said President and CEO of American Medical Response Ted Van Horn.

FEMA began contracting with American Medical Response 10 years ago to help provide the massive relief efforts like this one, after lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina.

“We have over 380 Ambulances and 1,000 paramedics and EMT's that mobilized 48 hours ago,” said Van Horn. “The states and federal government realized you have to have a lot of resources of scale.  We have to be able to put 600 ambulances anywhere in the U.S. in a 48-hour window. That’s a lot of ambulances, a lot of people. a lot of coordination. “

AMR is helping Florida first responders get people who are rescued to hospitals, while also evacuating hospitals that are running on generators.

From the National Command Center in Dallas, Van Horn can see some ambulances that needed to take patients all the way to Orlando. 

“Gives us a visual to see where the units are make sure they are safe and make sure we have the assets for patients that need to be moved,” he said.

More than 230,000 customers in the panhandle remain without power. Schools will stay closed indefinitely. 

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