Protecting disaster response teams in the field
| 01.04.2007 | 06:23:39 | Views: 2448 | ID:
January 4, '07: During Hurricane Katrina, Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMAT's) sent to help with the large numbers of injured victims being treated at the Superdome had to contend with scant resources, a growing frustration among those affected by the storm, and rising violence, the Contra Costa Times reported.
To help protect those who respond to medical disasters, the Department of Justice is working to create "a security and logistics force to protect disaster medical teams and their supply caches," the Contra Costa Times reported.DOJ officials "are now setting up dozens of teams across the state (California) to scout triage sites, equipping themselves with rugged vehicles, contamination suits, rescue gear and health supplies in case catastrophe strikes." Californian Darrell Lee, a Fire Captain and paramedic who responded to Hurricane Katrina told the Contra Costa Times, having a security detail to protect the DMAT's was essential. "The crowds, they were frustrated. Some patients were crashing. We lost all our protection. The only protection we had was our own folks watching out for each other." The new security teams "would focus on one task - protecting medical professionals," the Times continued. Each team is made up of 32 state law enforcement officials. Currently, California officials are trying to create California Medical Disaster Assistance Teams (CalMAT's) using a $1.75 million federal homeland security grant. The 120-member teams would be in place by July 1, 2007, the Contra Costa Times reported.
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