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Nurses, Hospitals Prepared For Hurricane Irma To Ensure Patient Care Continues


Millions of Floridians did heed warnings to get out of the way of Hurricane Irma, so we wanted to know what some of their experiences have been. We were able to reach Taylor Roberts. She is a nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit of Golisano Children's Hospital in Fort Myers. Thanks for joining us, Taylor Roberts.


MARTIN: So you've evacuated to - what? - Punta Gorda?

ROBERTS: Yeah. So we went an hour north of our home.

MARTIN: How does it look where you are?

ROBERTS: Well, it wasn't until about a couple minutes ago, but actually, our front door just swung open. So we had to close it and lock it. And we were going to put something in front of it. But it's pretty - it's pretty windy now.

MARTIN: I mentioned that you're a nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit at a children's hospital. I was wondering, what - how does that work? How is it decided who stays and who goes?

ROBERTS: Well, we have a team A and team B. So we all sign up for whatever team we want to be on. Team B comes in before the storm so that team A can get ready. And they'll pack up all their stuff. So they're allowed to bring their family. They're allowed to bring their pets. They're there right now. They're going to be there for the duration of the storm and until they call an all-clear. And so then they'll send us a text or a message, and they'll tell us the all-clear has been called. And team B is activated. And then we have to go in for however long it takes.

MARTIN: Have you ever been through something like this before?

ROBERTS: Not really.

MARTIN: Are you scared?

ROBERTS: Yeah. I mean, not for my safety right now, mostly for my home. We came here because this place is sturdier than our house is. And it's pretty much like a waiting game. When are we going to be able to go back? When are we going to be able to know if it's still there, you know?

MARTIN: What's the worst part of this, for people who've never been through something like this?

ROBERTS: I think not knowing. Hurricanes, when they come, it's - it could do this or it could do this. And they just have a cone. And you think, OK, I'm not in that cone, but then it can shift last second. You never know. It's just the waiting and the hoping that you're in the right place.

MARTIN: That's Taylor Roberts. We reached her in Punta Gorda, Fla. She just evacuated from Fort Myers. Thanks so much for - and hang in there. We'll keep a good thought.

ROBERTS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.