Stephen Liang, MD, MPHS, assistant professor of medicine, joined Missouri Task Force I (MO-TF1) in 2011 as a medical team manager, and has traveled to many sites helping disaster victims and their communities. When Hurricane Florence hit in September 2018, MO-TF1 was activated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deploy as a type III urban search and rescue team to Brunswick County, North Carolina. Florence had already taken more than a dozen lives and left hundreds without homes and thousands without power.
MO-TF1 worked through torrential downpour, several tornado warnings, and widespread flooding. In total, MO-TF1 rescued/evacuated 394 people and 33 animals and conducted wellness checks on 1,374 residents that remained in their homes. The team used boats and high-water vehicles to get to those who needed their help. “We found people in vehicles, flooded subdivisions, wires down, trees down, and power outages for days,” said Task Force Leader, Randy Sanders.
Dr. Liang was deployed with MO-TF1 for 19 days before returning home to his wife, Philana, a physician assistant in the Washington University ID clinic, and their four children. Stephen is tremendously grateful to the leadership, faculty, and staff of the Divisions of Infectious Diseases and Emergency Medicine for their support during this deployment. “It is an honor to care for the dedicated first responders of MO-TF1 and help others in a time of need,” said Stephen.