An Update from St. John Rescue

st john rescue

We received the following message from St. John Rescue. They asked that we share it with all of you.

Good day,

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, St. John Rescue, Inc. has been overwhelmed with everyone’s support and generosity. We apologize it has taken us this long to reach out but saving lives is always our number one priority. St. John Rescue is an all volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in 1996. Our active members live and work on St. John and are integral parts of the community. Though every member was personally affected by the storm, it has not stopped the true spirit of St. John from shining through. We are all coming together to help our
neighbors.

St. John Rescue was the first group to mobilize while the storm was still raging and have
been active responders from the onset. Immediately following Hurricane Irma, we utilized trauma kits to help those in need, and provided emergency rescue to St. John residents. This was paramount to saving lives, and the beginning of our large-scale recovery efforts with government agencies and organizations.

St. John Rescue’s first step in aiding the island was to engage and deploy the Global Disaster Immediate Response Team (DIRT) which operates as part of Help.NGO. They are an elite team of disaster relief experts with specialties in search and rescue, communications and disaster relief operations. They have been working tirelessly alongside St. John Rescue members to identify and execute the changing needs of the island during recovery. Global DIRT was on the ground in St. John immediately following the hurricane and began work right away.

Establishing a line of communication to resources off island was vital for continued recovery.St. John Rescue with DIRT brought the first non-private satellite phones to St. John. This allowed teams off island to process and send information about missing persons, coordinate supply chains and efficiently manage resources.

The search and rescue efforts of St. John Rescue with Global DIRT have helped hundreds of people on St. John. We have conducted door to door checks while prioritizing vulnerable patients,medical necessities, elderly and children. We followed leads from calls, texts and emails off island, as well as in person leads from fellow island residents. We liaised with FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue Team which increased the speed and efficiency of search and rescue efforts. St. John Rescue with Global DIRT has also been clearing brush and debris as needed to allow access to remote residences.

St. John can be challenging to navigate under normal conditions, due to its island terrain and hard to reach areas. Because of our local knowledge and Global DIRT’s experience in disaster management, we are able to help government agencies navigate the unique terrain and layout of the island and to assist in damage assessment. This helped us best convey the needs of the island to the government agencies.

St. John Rescue and Global DIRT, with support from GATR and Cisco, worked together to
provide WiFi. Cisco and GATR provides portable hotspots and VSAT Communications (high speed WiFi via satellite). The first GATR was deployed at the Myrah Keating Clinic. Shortly after, St. John Rescue and Global DIRT were able to acquire two more VSAT GATRs for additional wifi hotspots.

Our goal following Maria is to bring high speed wireless to Coral Bay and the Pharmacy on St. John. This will allow the pharmacy to link with their parent pharmacy on St. Thomas. Until this occurs there is no way to access prescriptions or insurance information. Residents currently have to pay full price in cash for their life sustaining prescriptions. When this is in place it will drastically reduce the out of pocket cost.

During relief efforts St. John Rescue has continued our focus on health and wellness. We
have been helping transport patients to and from the clinic. We have acted as patient advocates by helping to get medications and much needed supplies to the island. We have been assisting with medical evacuations. We have also been delivering food and water to those with limited mobility.

One of our members is a retired police officer and has filled in as security at the Myrah Keating Clinic. St. John rescue has four vehicles, all of which made it through the storm mostly undamaged. Our ambulance is being used by the Coral Bay firehouse as a stationary clinic for Coral Bay’s firefighters, paramedics and Rescue members.

Most government agencies have left the island for safer shelters ahead of Hurricane Maria, but our members and the members of Global DIRT remain on island as essential personnel in the face of the next storm. The government agencies will be back and we will be here to meet them.

*Post Maria Update* Roads have been cleared again between Cruz Bay and Coral Bay. Wifi equipment that was taken down before Maria has been restored to the Myrah Keating Clinic. The wifi system should be up and running at the Coral Bay Community Council Office as long as the generator is running.

St. John Rescue – On call for life.

26 thoughts on “An Update from St. John Rescue”

  1. KUDOS !!!TO all of f your members for all you are doing !!
    Can’t wait to see Paradise again this January . Stay strong & God Bless !! Bill & Connie Avaon, NJ

  2. We don’t know any of you but please know you are all in our prayers for continued health and safety. David and I are planning to come down for 7 months to help our favorite spot on the planet. We have a place to stay and are looking for a dependable vehicle to purchase for the length of our stay. We are do to leave Oct. 9, but we need St. Thomas airport open and a way to get to St. John. My father in law is buried native style on what is now Estate Zootenvaal. We have a true love for the island and her beautiful people. Stay strong , safe, and may God bless.Normie

  3. We don’t know any of you but please know you are all in our prayers for continued health and safety. David and I are planning to come down for 7 months to help. We have a place to stay and are looking for a dependable vehicle to purchase for the length of our stay. We are do to leave Oct. 9, but we need St. Thomas airport open and a way to get to St. John. My father in law is buried native style on what is now Estate Zootenvaal. We have a true love for the island and her beautiful people. Stay strong , safe, and may God bless.Normie

  4. We had a place for the month of November on St.John but sadly it was destroyed by Irma and the owners are trying hard to keep shelter for themselves.We have offered to come help rebuild as my husband is an electrician and I am a nurse. We both know carpentry ,he does all phases of construction including plumbing.Getting tools there would be hard but we are willing to work but we have no place to stay any longer.Not even sure when the airport will reopen.Can anyone let us know if this is a possibility?

  5. Global Dirt really came through for my husband and 10 others sheltering at our cottage in Coral Bay after Irma by providing sat phone for contacting loved ones. Those calls meant everything because there was no other way to communicate, and we were desperate for contact with our loved ones and information about St John. St John Rescue continues to work tirelessly on through extremely difficult conditions to save lives, provide relief and improve life on St John after the worst possible disaster. Thank you for being our heroes!!!

  6. Bless all of you for doing the work you do ! Stay safe and thank you for the updates. I have signed up to volunteer thru NVOAD and Red Cross
    Willing and able to help this island that has very special memories for me.

  7. Your teams are amazing! So thankful for all that you are doing for the people of St. John. How can we donate to your organization? Please let me know! Thank you again and please stay safe!

  8. Everyday since Irma I have looked for news reg. St John and I am so glad finally see something.
    Great details and so pleased to read about the progress.
    I sat with tears in my eyes last night complaining about the limited updates about what I consider my paradise.
    Thank You Thank You!
    Stay safe & best wishes
    Mia & Nick

  9. Thank you so much for all you have done. For those of us that live stateside and have loved ones on St. John, this brought comfort.

  10. Have friends in st.John and St.Thomas VI. Have not heard from them as yet. I once lived on the island of St.Thomas and was there when Marilyn struck in 1995.I now reside in Atlanta Ga.would very much like to get in contact with my friends.My Prayers and best wishes go out to all the people affected by these hurricanes.

  11. My house was pretty much destroyed and i cant. Wait to have it rebuilt in a much stronger type and i cant wait to move back to my beloved island.. if anyone is flying this way to los angels could you bring my little dog Gigi to me. She is with Patty and Marcus Johnston on Content. thanks so much…. Lee Morris. 340-999-7260…

  12. Thank you so much for the lenghty update. I have been waiting for such a report. All of you are in my prayers. Wish I could come help. Sent a check instead. Hope to cone in March. Sure they will still be plenty to do.

    Take care. Good bless and stay safe.

  13. Thank you so much for these concrete details about the health and safety of the people on the island. Has a fund been eat up that would be administered by local residents? I have made donation to the Red Cross but want to know it will go directly to St Johns needs

  14. My son, is a resident on St. John with his young family. His wife and children have been evacuated to Germany to live with her family for a while. Edward is staying and working on the island. Communication is rare and not reliable. The spirit of everyone is both comforting for me and inspiring.

  15. As a St John resident, I’ve observed you in action several times but man! Did you all come through for all of us in this situation. My eternal and heartfelt thanks for all you’ve done and continue to do. St John Strong!!

  16. Thank you for the update and for your selfless acts of courage and kindness. I will be donating again. Keep up the great work!

    God Bless St John Rescue!

  17. I would like to send a package to my son on st. John consisting of 6 chainsaws that he says are needed. How do I ship them to st. John and what address of delivery?

  18. Thank you for everything you have done and are doing. I have been asking for donations as friends ask how is St John, after Irma. The response has been very positive, they are donating to GoFundMe St. John rescue. I have read on Face book from a friend, who sounds less than positive about Cruz Bay right now. She says they need organization ( where are the government officials)? The shelves are empty, St John is now a large garbage dump, the banks are closed, very difficult when it’s cash only, cash is running out, for most. She sounds desperate. People state side want to send much needed supplies but how can we do this? Does anyone have a way or address to ship items to St John ? Many St. John locals can’t leave, they are still there, please they need help. Some leadership is needed.

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