Providence Holy Cross Emergency Physician Bruce Cummings recently returned from nine days in Port au Prince, Haiti, where he was a medical team manager on the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Urban Search and Rescue team.
A total of 53 USAR Heavy Rescue teams from around the world were deployed to Port au Prince immediately after the catastrophic 7.0 earthquake. The government of Haiti requested international aide through the United Nations, which sent requests to participating nations with Heavy Rescue team capabilities. The U.S. State Department responded with several USAR teams.
After two weeks, these 75-person heavy rescue teams (and their search dogs) returned to their home countries and the 12-man, L.A. County Fire Department USAR team with Cummings was deployed at the request of the United Nations, to respond to any further collapsed structure rescue needs and provide humanitarian aid to local orphanages.
Port au Prince has 300 orphanages in the city. Through referrals from UNICEF, the L.A. County USAR team was able to build and provide large tents, sleeping cots and electrical generators for five orphanages, all provided from the American people.
Cummings has assisted or deployed with the County’s USAR program for the past 18 years, including Hurricane Iniki, the Oklahoma City bombing tragedy, the Northridge earthquake apartment collapse, the Indonesian earthquake and tsunami, and the 2008 earthquake near Chengdu, China.
Cummings credits his parents for instilling in him a desire to give back to the community and those in need. He is a fulltime emergency medicine physician at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the San FernandoValley.