Over 40 years ago, Hall County "reacted," and created a program that would better EMS and fire services called REACT. Locally, only 15 Grand Island residents are involved.
Emergency Mobile Unit GI REACT 2736 has been a critical part of the Grand Island community since the 1970's.
Even though it has been around since the 60's in other areas, it is the only bus in the tri–cities. Many community members may have seen them around the state fair, during severe weather, and even directing traffic during public events.
Currently they operate out of a mobile bus, and are able to connect to Nebraska State Patrol, EMS, and Fire through analog and digital communication. The program is 100 percent volunteer based, and it is those same volunteers that officials say make the program what it is.
"We're here to help anyway we can. If we can get our name out and do another support [event], or block traffic to prevent another accident, [we will]," shared Crystal McCord, REACT volunteer. "Like last weekend, I did a run and directed traffic. That saved someone's life, and that makes me feel good, and that makes the team know that we are out there to help people."
REACT has worked with the Red Cross and the Salvation Army for disaster response and grant opportunities. Their services have expanded outside the United States as well, and are considered to be second-in-line defense. Volunteers say a program outside of your standard police, fire, and medic is crucial.
"Grand Island is growing. It's going to put more strain on our government agencies like the local sheriff's office. In a disaster, we are able to be there and fill the gap they usually have," explained Jesse Baxter, REACT volunteer.
"Grand Island is classified as a metro. We're going to be needed more. There are so many agencies around here, but REACT is their back–up. If something happens with these agencies, they come to us. They depend on us for that extra support," said Brandi Baxter, REACT volunteer.
According to their web site, REACT is also present in Pawnee, Dodge, Custer and Douglas counties.