First responder recalls Red Cross help during bus crash

First responder recalls Red Cross help during Jefferson Co. bus crash

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"If you have seen the pictures that have been out there before it really didn't do them justice. Seeing them live and in person," said Slemp. "If you have seen the pictures that have been out there before it really didn't do them justice. Seeing them live and in person," said Slemp.
In October first responders in Jefferson County were called out to a horrific crash on Interstate 40 that claimed eight lives. In October first responders in Jefferson County were called out to a horrific crash on Interstate 40 that claimed eight lives.

By TEARSA SMITH
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - East Tennessee answered the call for donations to the American Red Cross Thursday through WATE's telethon, and the money will help volunteers respond to victims in need of disaster relief.  One local example is last month's devastating bus crash in Jefferson County.

In October first responders in Jefferson County were called out to a horrific crash on Interstate 40 that claimed eight lives.

The American Red Cross was there to help bridge the gap between the victims' loved ones and the information and help they needed.

The bus crash brought the interstate to a halt and sent police, fire crews and EMTs rushing to the scene.

Drew Slemp was one of two LIFESTAR teams sent in to respond.

"If you have seen the pictures that have been out there before it really didn't do them justice. Seeing them live and in person," said Slemp.

Many of the patients from the crash found themselves at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, especially at the trauma center. Once the first responder's work was done, patients found themselves being handed off to the next group of doctors, nurses and the Red Cross.

"There were a couple of things that struck me with the Red Cross (including) their incredible response they had to the medical center. Just after we landed and transferred our patient down here to the emergency, the Red Cross was over in the auditorium already setting up and working with hospital staff here on a reunification process," said Slemp.

Slemp said the Red Cross truly helped take some pressure off the hospital.

"Obviously the hospital staff is already taxed trying to take care of patients. So the Red Cross coming in and taking some of that load off of the hospital and making those contacts, and setting up those areas for the families to come to and taking care of their needs," said Slemp.

With the help of our generous viewers and sponsors, WATE raised $11,750 on Thursday for the American Red Cross of Tennessee Mountain Valley during the telethon called "A Call to Action." The money will help volunteers respond to victims in need of disaster relief.

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