DFW International Airport Assisting in Evacuation of Gulf Coast in Advance of Hurricane Gustav
Airport will serve as arrival point for critical care patients and as temporary housing for New Orleans airport workers
DFW International Airport, Texas (August 29, 2008) – Acting on a request from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), DFW International Airport and its partner airlines and federal agencies are preparing for evacuees from the Gulf Coast in advance of Hurricane Gustav. DFW is planning to receive evacuees on several fronts.
Starting Sunday morning, August 31, the Dallas/Fort Worth and El Paso areas will serve as arrival points for as many as 500 critical care patients who will be airlifted from various hospitals along the Gulf Coast. The patients will be flown in on military C-130 medical evacuation aircraft, and those arriving at DFW will be placed on ambulances for transport to as many as 20 hospitals around the entire North Texas region.
DFW has enlisted the aid of its regional mutual aid partner cities to provide ambulance services for the arriving patients, and is coordinating with Dallas County and Tarrant County emergency management organizations for appropriate placement of these critical care patients.
The critical patient airlift is part of the National Disaster Medical System operated by FEMA in times of crisis.
Secondly, DFW is preparing to temporarily house as many as 800 federal workers who are now assigned to Louis Armstrong-New Orleans International Airport. DFW is preparing temporary housing in the Terminal E satellite building, which in past years served as a facility for arriving airline passengers. Airport personnel spent the day on Friday preparing the satellite building for its temporary guests.
Federal employees who have traveled from around the country this week to relieve New Orleans-based airport workers are expected to arrive at DFW as early as Sunday, August 31. The expected group of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees includes workers from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Federal Air Marshals, as well as employees from the Department of Defense (DOD).
These workers will be the last to leave Louis Armstrong-New Orleans International Airport and the first workers to return once that airport is ready to re-open in the wake of the storm. DFW and FEMA are coordinating plans to house workers here for as long as ten days.
Finally, DFW will also serve as the arrival point for approximately 4100 general public evacuees who are arriving on commercial flights throughout the weekend, as part of the evacuation plan set forth by the Texas Governor Rick Perry.
“DFW is grateful to all of our North Texas regional partners, whether they be mutual aid ambulance services from local cities, federal agencies, airlines, airport vendors and our own employees who are really reaching out to help those in need,” said Jeff Fegan, CEO of the Airport. “We constantly train for this type of emergency response and regional cooperation, but even so, the level and the speed of cooperation we are witnessing from all of our partners is commendable.”
DFW Public Affairs will continue to update local media outlets and the airport’s web site (www.dfwairport.com) with the latest information as appropriate.