WASHINGTON, DC -- A team of medical specialists from North Carolina has been deployed to the Gulf Coast states to assist in the response effort to Hurricane Dennis. Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deployed the North Carolina-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) to be ready to assist communities in the area with emergency medical needs following Hurricane Dennis.
"FEMA is coordinating the mobilization of all available federal resources to help residents who may be in the path of this dangerous storm. The DMAT teams play a critical role in the medical response to a disaster by assisting communities whose local resources may be overwhelmed," said Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response.
The North Carolina DMAT, based in Winston-Salem, joins similar teams from Alabama, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan and California. The teams will deploy as needed into affected areas after Hurricane Dennis moves through the region.
"We are prepared to help the residents of the Gulf States with their medical needs, and we have some of the finest emergency medical personnel in the North Carolina area responding to this disaster," said North Carolina-1 Team Commander Jane Stringer. "The members of the team are experienced in these situations and are ready to mobilize when the call comes."
The North Carolina-1 DMAT has been deployed to previous hurricanes including Hurricane Frances in 2004 and Hurricane Isabel in 2003. 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 North Carolina and its 35 members include 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 responded to large-scale disasters including the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001, Hurricane Isabel in September 2003, and the Bam, Iran Earthquake in December 2003. NDMS Teams were also deployed in 2004 to support the G8 Summit in Georgia, the National Democratic Convention in Boston and the Republican National Convention in New York.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.