Acadian Ambulance Service, Inc. is the largest privately held emergency medical services organization in the nation. Located in Lafayette, Louisiana the company serves a population of 3.4 million people in a geographic area of roughly 24,000 square miles spanning 60% of Louisiana and counties in Texas and Mississippi. Nearly 2000 employees comprise the workforce, 1400 of which are EMT's and paramedics manning 205 ambulances and seven (7) air medical helicopters responding to approximately 800 calls on a daily basis.
Since its inception in 1971, Acadian has endured the challenges of numerous hurricanes and other natural and man-made disasters; none of which compared to the tragedy of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. As the levees broke in the city of New Orleans, the massive resources of the Acadian organization, other local, state and federal emergency response agencies, and health care organizations were quickly exhausted, leaving thousands of men, women, and children helplessly abandoned in their homes without the necessities of food, water, clothing, and shelter.
Acadian's work began as the storm entered the Gulf of Mexico with the potential to make landfall along the Mississippi - Louisiana coast. As is typical under these circumstances, Acadian began receiving calls for evacuations of nursing homes and homebound patients in low lying areas. In previous storms, most hospitals maintained a "shelter-in-place" policy. Acadian's resources in the northern area of Louisiana were repositioned to facilitate the evacuations in the southern areas of the state. As is also typical, many Louisianans did not heed the call for early evacuation, and many remained even after the call for mandatory evacuation. As Katrina turned her sites toward the city of New Orleans, all emergency response agencies prepared for the devastation of the harrowing storm and positioned themselves for a prompt response as the winds subsided. Though emergency response plans had contemplated foreseeable effects of a levee break in New Orleans, the sheer magnitude of the event quickly overshadowed plans to manage the situation. To understand the magnitude of Katrina's wrath, an overview of the storm's anatomy and ensuing aftermath is presented.
Before Katrina reached the Louisiana coast it took its toll on the offshore oil and gas industry. According to the Minerals Management Service, the primary agency which regulates the offshore oil and gas industry, hurricane Katrina caused 13 semi submersibles and 8 Jackups to move off location (Figure 1). Katrina completely destroyed or severely damaged 190+ offshore platforms and over 800 oil and gas wells were lost.