Coloradans helping Florida hospitals respond to Irma

Posted at 7:53 AM, Sep 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-11 11:38:27-04

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Downed trees, heavy winds and torrential rain are among the images capturing a glimpse of Irma passing over Broward Health North hospital in Florida. Denver native Matthew Smedberg has been calling the hospital home.

“We started going on lock down yesterday morning,” Smedberg said.

Smedberg is with HSS Security along with four other people from Denver who were in Florida training staff. Smedberg was supposed to be back home on Tuesday, but then mother nature intervened. Smedberg has taken over the safety and security operations at the hospital.

“When [Irma] hit, it didn't ease it into, it just came all at once,” Smedberg said.

Once the hurricane hit, it took the power out at the hospital and caused several close calls.

“We had a couple of little fires today inside the hospital due to water getting through, and electrical damage,” Smedberg said.

Several miles north, in Orlando, another group of Coloradans is lending a hand.

Patrick Conroy, director of safety for UCHealth, is part of the emergency operation center support team from Colorado heading to the Florida Keys to help with relief efforts.

“Our specific mission is to augment the emergency operation center along the Florida Keys,” Conroy said.