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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT)

What Is A Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT)?

A DMAT is a group of professional and para-professional medical personnel (supported by a cadre of logistical and administrative staff) designed to provide medical care during a disaster or other event. NDMS recruits personnel for specific vacancies, plans for training opportunities, and coordinates the deployment of the teams.

DMATs are designed to be a rapid-response element to supplement local medical care until other Federal or contract resources can be mobilized, or the situation is resolved. DMATs deploy to disaster sites with sufficient supplies and equipment to sustain themselves for a period of 72 hours while providing medical care at a fixed or temporary medical care site. The personnel are activated for a period of two weeks.

In mass casualty incidents, their responsibilities may include triaging patients, providing high-quality medical care despite the adverse and austere environment often found at a disaster site, patient reception at staging facilities and preparing patients for evacuation.

Under the rare circumstance that disaster victims are evacuated to a different locale to receive definitive medical care, DMATs may be activated to support patient reception and disposition of patients to hospitals. DMATs are principally a community resource available to support local, regional, and State requirements. However, as a National resource they can be federalized

NDMS/DMAT personnel are required to maintain appropriate certifications and licensure within their discipline. When personnel are activated as Federal employees, licensure and certification is recognized by all States. Additionally, DMAT personnel are paid while serving as intermittent federal employees and have the protection of the Federal Tort Claims Act in which the Federal Government becomes the defendant in the event of a malpractice claim.

  • This page last reviewed: June 13, 2014