Eric Smith, Fire Chief
8 School St.
Gloucester, MA 01930
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Gloucester Firefighter Assists With Federal Hurricane Recovery Efforts
GLOUCESTER — Chief Eric Smith is pleased to report that Gloucester Firefighter Doug Sherman has returned home following a three-week deployment to Florida and Puerto Rico to help with the recovery effort following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Firefighter Sherman was deployed to Florida and then to Puerto Rico, along with fellow members of Disaster Medical Assistance Team Massachusetts 2 (DMAT MA-2), a federal team under the oversight of the National Disaster Medical System and the Department of Health and Human Services.
He and his team were dispatched to Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma to train and maintain their readiness for a potential deployment following the storm, but they ultimately found themselves re-assigned to Puerto Rico as Hurricane Maria closed in on the island last month.
Once the storm passed, Sherman and DMAT MA-2 moved to Centro Medico Hospital in San Juan, utilizing a section of the building that was still under construction to erect a medical shelter to ease the expected post-storm influx of patients.
“It was important for us to be prepared in case the main hospital reached its capacity, so that medics could still treat as many people as possible,” Firefighter Sherman said. “The need for help in Puerto Rico is immense, and I’m extremely grateful to the city and the department for their continued support of my involvement with these disaster relief responses.”
Due to the severity and timing of the two storms, Firefighter Sherman and his team were deployed for a week longer than the typical two-week disaster response deployments.
“We are all incredibly proud of Firefighter Sherman for going into such a challenging assignment and representing the Gloucester Fire Department well,” Chief Smith said. “The situation there is tragic, but I’m encouraged by the contributions that DMAT and other first responders have made to the recovery effort.”
For now, Sherman and his team are scheduled to return to Puerto Rico for another two- week rotation next month.