ST. AUGUSTINE, FL- Prepping for a hurricane is hard work. Do you have enough water? Do you have enough food?
Imagine prepping for nearly 1,000 people. Flagler Hospital in St. Augustine was right in the path of Hurricane Matthew, so administrators made the choice to invite all the families into the hospital to ride out the storm together.
"We got lucky, really lucky," says David Combs an ER nurse at Flagler as he plays with his son Devyn.
They were just a few of the hundreds of extra faces seen around the hospital during Hurricane Matthew.
"When we were in the position of seeing these folks come in, we knew we had to take care of them," told Jason Barrett, the Chief Administrative Officer at Flagler Hospital.
He knew the responsibility was going to be huge. Withstand a hurricane, while taking care of patients and staff, plus their families and even their pets. Doctors and nurses say to know their families were safe and nearby gave them comfort and helped them stay focused as more people continued to come into the ER.
"We had first responders that got injured, we had homeless that showed up and needed shelter," explained Combs.
That included providing the nearly 1,000 people three meals a day. Chef Robert Johnson and his staff took that challenge head on and provided comfort food like chicken and dumplings.
"We take small things for granted sometimes, but people were just so gracious for a hot meal," said Johnson.
Alll say it was quite an experience, but they are glad they could weather the storm safely all together.