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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Disaster Medical Assistance Teams

Providing the best medical care in the worst of times

During disasters and emergencies – and even during large-scale national security events - the need for medical care can quickly overwhelm the system. NDMS Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) may be deployed to get people the medical care they need when seconds count. Whether they are responding to a hurricane, flood or other natural disaster; protecting health and saving lives in the wake of a terrorist attack or man-made disaster; providing support in the wake of a disease outbreak; or supporting a major event like the Presidential Inauguration, DMAT members provide care that matters.

Disaster Medical Assistance Team members provide support in the wake of a hurricane 


Delivering Expert Medical Care

DMATs are staffed with medical professionals and para-professionals who can help area health systems respond by providing expert patient care. DMAT team members include advanced clinicians (nurse practitioners/physician assistants), medical officers, registered nurses, respiratory therapists, paramedics, pharmacists, safety specialists, logistical specialists, information technologists, communication and administrative specialists.

Mission assignments to DMATs vary widely. When disaster strikes, DMAT members may be called on to help hospitals and healthcare facilities serve the needs of their patients, support medical sites and shelters, and more. In a disease outbreak, they may provide mass prophylaxis. During a special event, they stand ready to serve in case of an emergency. But no matter what the specific mission is, DMAT teams provide expert patient care that protects individual health and promotes national health security.

Deploying to Provide Patient Care

DMAT team members often deploy to devastating situations and work in austere conditions to provide medical care and support when it is needed most. When DMATs deploy, they bring enough medical supplies and equipment to sustain themselves for three days and they are typically activated for two weeks at a time.

Scaling to Meet the Needs of the Community

Every disaster or emergency is different – and so is every DMAT deployment. DMATs scale to meet the unique health challenges of each disaster, combining clinical, non-clinical and leadership staff so that their skills are used effectively.

NDMS Seal 

  • This page last reviewed: September 09, 2017