To best prepare to respond to a mass-casualty incident, a local funeral director an funeral home owner from Summersville, Brad Allen Anderson, is participated in National Disaster Medical System training at a training facility in Alabama from June 5-10. Anderson serves as a member of an NDMS Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team (DMORT).
The NDMS is a federally administered program that can support communities with medical care and mortuary assistance during disasters or public health emergencies, and is among the resources made available by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).
NDMS teams consist of physicians, nurses, veterinary staff, paramedics, fatality management professionals, and experienced command and control staff. When an emergency overwhelms local and state resources, ASPR looks to the expertise within NDMS teams from across the country to assist in the response. The most realistic training NDMS teams can receive to prepare for this vital mission is at the Center for Domestic Preparedness operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Anniston, Al.
There are 12 NDMS members from West Virginia.
“NDMS supports communities with medical or veterinary care or mortuary operations after disasters,” said Ron Miller, acting director of ASPR’s NDMS. “The intense, realistic training teams receive at this facility serves our nation and local communities well when NDMS is called upon to assist after a disaster strikes.”
During the DMORT training, team members drill on gathering as much information as possible to help identify individuals, as they would during actual incidents. DMORT members operate forensic pathology, anthropology, fingerprinting, DNA and dental stations in temporary morgues during disaster responses.
Approximately 5,000 medical, public health, and emergency management professionals comprise the NDMS, organized into approximately 70 types of response teams. Although they hail from communities nationwide, they are Federal government employees who are part of a coordinated federal response.
ASPR leads the nation in preventing, preparing for, and responding to the adverse health effects of public health emergencies and disasters. It focuses on preparedness planning and response; building Federal emergency medical operational capabilities; countermeasures research, advance development, and procurement; and grants to strengthen the capabilities of hospitals and health care systems in public health emergencies and medical disasters.
For more information about Federal medical response and NDMS, visit www.phe.gov.