Earthquake: A Shining Example Image

At 1:30 am Jan 24th a series of earthquakes struck South-central Alaska. The strongest one, a 7.1 on the Richter scale, centered 63 miles west of the city of Homer, was the most powerful quake ever registered in the Cook Inlet area. Ninety eight miles northeast of the epicenter is the city of Kenai and home to the Kenai Regional office for Consumer Direct Alaska (CDAK).

We would like to introduce you to Tammy Thompson, a Consumer Direct Alaska caregiver working through the Kenai office since June 2003.

After the quake struck, Tammy’s first thoughts were of her consumer, Donna Delk, who has a physical disability and cannot independently move herself. She attempted to call Donna, but there was no answer. Tammy headed over to Donna’s neighborhood and found the area blocked off due to a structure fire from a natural gas leak. Tammy contacted the police and they escorted her to Donna’s residence at about 2:30 am. 

Arriving at the residence, Tammy found first responders there, talking to Donna through her bedroom window. When she went into Donna’s home, Tammy noticed several items had fallen and were scattered about or broken. Working mostly in the dark, Tammy was able to get Donna out of bed, dressed, and into her wheelchair. The local EMT’s transported her, without her chair, to the local National Guard Armory which had been set up as the emergency shelter. About an hour later, they picked Tammy up with the local Senior Center van and went back to the house to get Donna’s power wheelchair.

Several hours after being taken to the shelter, Tammy spoke with Jim Trombley, CDAK’s Regional Program Coordinator to determine a plan for Donna’s care if residents would not be allowed back into the neighborhood that day. It was agreed that the best option would be to have her admitted to the local hospital. 

When arriving at the hospital the initial determination was to not admit Donna because she had no medical reason for admittance. With the insistence of and cooperation with Donna’s primary on-call physician, the hospital agreed to admit her. Tammy stayed to provide transfer assistance to get Donna into the bed and help direct what additional care was needed.

The next morning Tammy received the all clear from the gas company and was able to take Donna back home, after cleaning up the mess from the quake.

Tammy’s dedication to her consumer’s best needs and interests makes her a shining example of what our caregivers are all about. 

Jim Trombley
Regional Program Coordinator
Consumer Direct – Kenai