Hhs Announces Minnesota Disaster Medical Assistance Team
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced the addition of a new Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) to the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS). Sponsored by the Minnesota Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the new team with the NDMS designation MN-1 will be based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.
DMATs are teams of professional and paraprofessional medical personnel supported by logistical and administrative staff designed to provide emergency medical care during a disaster or other event. A complete DMAT emergency response team includes 35 physicians, nurses, and other allied healthcare and support personnel.
DMAT members must be physically fit, available for immediate deployment, and capable of working in an austere environment for at least two weeks. Since team members are volunteers with fulltime jobs, each DMAT must recruit and maintain a roster of at least two people to cover each team position.
More than 8,000 personnel participate in the NDMS. In addition to the emergency medical response teams like MN-1, the system has specialized teams to handle burns, pediatrics, crush injuries, surgery, mental health and incidents involving weapons of mass destruction.
The most recent federal DMAT activation occurred earlier this year as Hurricane Lili approached the Louisiana coast. In anticipation of the powerful storm’s landfall, teams from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas were sent to Jackson, Miss. and Shreveport, La. The teams and their equipment remained on alert throughout the storm’s passage ready to assist with response operations if federal medical assistance was needed.
In recent years, HHS teams have responded to an unprecedented number of challenges, including: the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the Oklahoma City bombing; natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and ice storms; and transportation disasters including the TWA Flight 800, Egypt Air, Alaska Air and American Flight 587 crashes.