Puerto Rico Arecibo VA Clinic

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While the media coverage has gone away, the recovery process in Puerto Rico is far from over. Many medical facilities were damaged or rendered inoperable by Hurricane Maria, creating dangerous gaps in the island's healthcare system.

The VA Outpatient Clinic in Arecibo was one of these facilities. During the storm it experienced extensive flooding, forcing officials to condemn the building. This left area veterans without access to the critical health services that they need. Fortunately the VA Hospital System was prepared for scenarios like this, and already had Western Shelters available to deploy as a temporary clinic.

This clinic is remarkable in that it is composed of resources from three different entities: the Augusta Georgia VA, the West Palm Beach Florida VA, and the Department of Health and Human Services. Due to the interoperable nature of the Gatekeeper line, all of these shelters were easily complexed together to form a continuous climate controlled space. At Western Shelter we love to see examples of interagency cooperation like this. Pooling resources is an excellent way to prepare for disaster and cost-effectively mitigate risk.

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The Arecibo Clinic is composed of six Gatekeeper 1935s, three Gatekeeper 20 Shelters, nine HVACs, and all of the necessary power distribution equipment to support each shelter. It will provide a full suite of outpatient services for the next seven to eight months while a new permanent facility is built.

In addition to the products shown above, Western Shelter was also contracted to assist in the deployment of the clinic. Two of our experienced trainers managed the setup of shelters, and ensured that all of the equipment was functioning properly.

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Parking lots for sports arenas provide ideal staging areas for mobile medical facilities. In this case the Arecibo Coliseum was conveniently located right next to the permanent VA clinic that was rendered inoperable by the hurricanes.

Western Shelter's involvement in the recovery efforts after Irma and Maria is still ongoing. Stay tuned for more field reports and images from the Caribbean.