Wisconsin medical team headed south, awaits deployment in path of Irma: “Our focus is the people”

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Disaster assistance medical team from Wisconsin deploys in anticipation of Irma

MILWAUKEE -- Nearly two dozen medical specialists will represent Wisconsin as they treat people injured by Hurricane Irma. Six members of the group flew out General Mitchell International Airport to Atlanta. The entire team will wait in Georgia until they find out where they're needed.

Donning their black shirts and khaki pants, Lisa Hass-Peters and Nick Jupin are among the 23 members of the Wisconsin One Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

"We are all medical professionals in our own right, so there's nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, physicians, the whole gambit," said Hass-Peters.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services activated the team Tuesday night. With just a few hours' notice, the group packed up to head southeast.

"There's no real good preparation for that. Just read up, study up on stuff that you've learned and keep your calm so you can help the people that's down there," said Jupin.

In his day job, Jupin is the tech director for a school district near Rockford, Illinois. For this mission, he's the team's logistics coordinator.

Nick Jupin

"The whole team sets up a field hospital," Jupin said, "We do that together but, going from there, it's my responsibility to make sure that the equipment, the supplies are there that we need."

Where that field hospital will be was still unknown Wednesday. It could be in Florida or it could be in the Caribbean.

"We told them to bring their passports just in case," said Hass-Peters.

Lisa Hass-Peters

Hass-Peters, the supervising nurse, said there's pride in this mission, but also sadness.

"We know that we're being needed because of the devastation and people have lost everything, so we haven't lost that. That is our focus. The people who need us," said Hass-Peters.

The team has no idea how long they'll be gone. They could be flying back here in a week or two, or it could be longer.

Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.