WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A team of medical specialists from Missouri has been deployed to the Gulf Coast States to assist in the response effort to Hurricane Ivan. Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deployed the Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) to assist heavily impacted communities in the area with emergency medical needs following Hurricane Ivan.
“We have committed all available resources to help the residents impacted by Hurricane Ivan, including deploying the DMATs who will play a critical medical role in the response effort,” said Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response.
The Missouri DMAT was initially staged in Birmingham, AL and then deployed to Orange Beach, AL. Once on the ground in Orange Beach, they set up their operations in the community center creating a makeshift hospital and began treating patients within forty-five minutes.
“We are prepared to help the residents in the Gulf Coast States with their medical needs and we have some of the finest emergency medical personnel in Missouri responding to this disaster,” said Missouri Team Commander Mark Thorpe. “The members of the team are experienced in these situations and are ready to mobilize when the call comes.”
The Missouri DMAT have had their personnel respond to many disasters, including the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and Hurricanes Lily, Charley and Frances. Members from the task force have also deployed to national security events such as inaugurations, State of the Union addresses, and the Olympics. Teams are part of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), which is one of the resources brought to FEMA since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The team consists of members from throughout the state but is primarily based in St. Louis. The team’s 35 members consist of physicians, nurses, paramedics, emergency medical technicians and other medical specialists. The unit is designed to be self-sufficient for 72 hours with supplies including food and medicine. The team’s primary mission is to supplement the medical needs in the areas heavily impacted by the hurricane.
FEMA’s DMATs have recently responded to large-scale disasters including The World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001, Hurricane Isabel in September 2003, the Bam, Iran Earthquake in December 2003 and Hurricane Charley last month. NDMS Teams have also been deployed in 2004 to support the G8 Summit in Georgia, the National Democratic Convention in Boston and the Republican National Convention in New York.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration