After 35 years of producing tents for the U.S. military, Alaska Structures Inc. is pitching tents to a whole new audience—homeland security and disaster relief agencies. Blu-Med Response Systems, Kirkland, Wash., a division of Alaska Structures, deployed a 25-bed emergency response unit in St. George, Utah, to demonstrate its capabilities for triage, isolation, surgery, mass immunizations or decontamination in a disaster situation—and invited the public to tour the facility. The state of Utah purchased four of the units as an emergency preparedness measure; similar units are already deployed in the epicenter of the Haiti earthquake zone.
Blu-Med donated a 50-bed hospital to Leogane, Haiti, with 4,500 square feet of floor space, air conditioning and strength sufficient to sustain hurricane-force wind and rain. A military version of the portable system, an Expeditionary Medical Support (EMEDS) hospital, was installed by the Kansas Air National Guard’s 190th Civil Engineering Squadron in Port-au-Prince to relieve pressure on the USNS Comfort, the Navy’s 1,000-bed floating hospital. Construction of the Leogane facility took less than two days and was completed by two Blu-Med employees working with eight local unskilled laborers.