California Air Force medical teams on standby to help with Hurricane Florence

FAIRFIELD, Calif. (KGO) -- Medical teams at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, Calif., have been called upon to be on standby to respond to Hurricane Florence if needed.

Inside the base, military aircraft like the C-17 are ready to carry Critical Care Air Transport teams, known as CCAT, at a moment's notice.

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"If my phone rang right now, I would call my husband, tell him I'm getting on an airplane and within two hours I'd be expected to report where I'm needed," said Natalie Korona, a critical care nurse and CCAT coordinator.

Four medical teams -- each with a physician, nurse, and respiratory therapist -- have their bags packed and are ready to assist with whatever devastation Hurricane Florence might cause.

"There's lot of people, we need to remember, that can't evacuate, and that need that critical care," Korona said.

With a wingspan close to 170 feet, the C-17 cargo planes are like an ICU in the sky. "Anything that you can do at a bedside in a normal hospital, we can also do in the air," Korona added.

While the CCAT teams wait to see if they'll be dispatched, five members with the contingency response team are already on the ground on the East Coast, helping coordinate other rescue aircraft.

"Once that hurricane leaves from the area, they're able to fly in, not just military aircraft, but civilian aircraft to different airfields around the area," said Capt. Lyndsey Horn, public affairs officer with the U.S. Air Force.

Each crew member is well trained. Some have responded to other natural disasters like Hurricane Maria.

"It's never the happiest moment that we'd ever be called upon, but we certainly are humbled to be asked to be able to support and possibly save lives," Horn said.

As Hurricane Florence unleashes its fury, it's now a matter of waiting to see if that extra help is needed.
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