DMAT San Diego
A Level 1
Disaster Medical Assistance Team.
affiliated with the National Disaster
by: UCSD Medical
Address: 200 West Arbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92103-8676
Information Line: 619-543-6216
eMail address of Newsletter Editor, Jake
DMAT CA-4 WEB site:
**** Volume 12,
Number 3 ****
Calendar Of Events..........................................Page
February Team Meeting Minutes........................Page
In Memoriam -Tom
Next Team meeting --
Wed., March 26, 2003 @ 1800 hrs.
Where? CA-4 Operations
Production Avenue, Suite B, San Diego
Location is in Miramar Area, 1.8
miles E of I-805 exit at Miramar Rd. Turn N on Production Avenue, 1/2
block on the left. (Remember, we have no mail box at the Ops Center, so never
use this address for mailing purposes)
* DMAT CA-4
had its best representation ever at the NDMS Annual Meeting held in Reno,NV
March 8th thru 12th. Twenty-seven team members were in attendance.
Here is the list of attendees:
Harker, Larry Hicks,
Jacoby, Jake Markland, Jo
Sara Perkins, Chuck
Peggy Polk, Deanna
Susana Prepas, Robbie
Mark Ruiz, Salvador
Therese Snyder, Ed
Robbin Sohmer, Michael
Kevin Steinberg, Craig
van den Hout, Carla
Welsh, Mary Wood, James
CA-4 had included
funding for 15 members in the Federal budget, and 5 in our
state budget. Additionally, some team funds will be used for some of the
rest, while 3 members were able to obtain funding from employers to attend on
their own. Much thanks needs to be extended to the Sharp and Scripps
Healthcare Systems, for supporting some of their key employees'
In addition, a new level of involvement was
attained. First, Thérèse Rymer, our Deputy CDR, was involved for
almost a year on the planning committee for the conference, which had uniformly
outstanding topics and lectures, and chaired many of the sessions. She was
honored with a Commendation fron NDMS. She presented a talk on
Occupational Health Considerations and Programs for a DMAT, and was
also a panel participant in the final summation report of the ongoing
smallpox sessions from each track, reporting EMS issues and the smallpox
vaccination program. Michael Sohmer was present to accept his
CA-4 Member of the Year Award. He also participated in a panel entitled
"What About the Drugs?" presenting lessons learned from the Super Typhoon
Pongsona deployment to Guam with the pharmacy experience of others at Ground
Zero. Jake Jacoby gave a presentation entitled "Tropical Deployments:
Lessons Learned from the Guam/Super Typhoon Pongsona and St. Croix/
Hurricane Georges deployments." On the final morning, he was also a
participant in a Panel organized by Jeff Rubin of CA EMSA, on agency
interactions in responding to a catastrophic (fictitious) California earthquake
in the LA area.
Team member Karen van Hoesen, ED
physician at UCSD, gave a well-received lecture on Hazardous
Marine Creatures, an appropriate heads up to folks who deploy to the
CA-4 alumni were active as well.
Marianne Ingels, a former CA-4 member who is now living in Oklahoma City,
and on the OK-1 team, delivered a fact-filled overview, History of Toxic
Disasters, which started as far back as the Middle Ages in discussing the
grain contamination resulting in St. Anthony's Fire. Numerous other natural and
man-made toxic disasters were discussed, from Bhopal, India to Lake Nyos in the
Chris Ho, an emergency medicine
physician who graduated the UCSD ED residency 2 years ago, has been
traveling and working in numerous areas, but will be returning to San
Diego in July and rejoining our team ( we hope). He gave an
experience-laden presentation on Cold Weather and Altitude deployment
were given to the team for its role in 3 activations during the year: Salt Lake
City Winter Olympics, Avian Influenza Outbreak in Virginia, and the Super
Typhoon Pongsona deployment this past December.
* The disposable
medical supplies used up or left in Guam during the December deployment to Guam
finally arrived on March 21st, and we will need to get them repackaged in our
supply chests and ready for our next ALERT or deployment during April, when we
are again 1st up for the Western US.. Some of the packaging will be done as part
of our next meeting.
* The order of zippered team sweatshirts, short sleeved
T shirts, and the newest item, long sleeved T shirts, has arrived. First
priority will be to make sure those of you who "reserved" these items can
purchase them.. and then we will open the sales up to the rest of the
team. All items are resold at our cost.
* With the move of the DMATs from the
Dept.of Health and Human Services to the Dept of Homeland Security, the question
of what will happen to our standard khaki BDU uniform has not been answered.
Those members who are in the process of purchasing and preparing the marques for
the khaki uniforms should NOT get the USPHS tape made up. Hold off on that for
awhile until a new guideline is issued by NDMS. The move, effective March
1st, occurred without enough time for a new policy to be developed. So stand by
on that one.
* Chris Galindo, designer of the Rough and Ready 2000 T
shirt logo, is now hard at work preparing some new designs and a new look
for our team logo. More on that when the drafts are ready.
* State Franchise
Tax Exemption: Just three weeks ago, I received a letter from the State of
California Franchise Tax Board which notified me that, even though we had
filed Exempt State Income tax Forms for the last two years, we had never been
granted tax deferral status by them, and I was given four weeks to complete the
application for it. Turns out that not only were we supposed to get Tax exempt
status from the IRS and the CA Secretary of State, and the State Board of
Equalization, we needed to complete still another application with the
State of CA Franchise Tax Board. In reviewing this situation with our
attorney, it turns out that it was not ever applied for. The application
was 5 pages long, (not bad, considering the length of the NDMS applcation)
but required copies of just about all the official documents we have ever
received, filed, or sent out, plus additional documentation of two years worth
of budgets, financial reports and balance sheets, the application fee, and
copies of "stuff we send to members." The final Fed Ex box weighed 2.8
pounds. I finshed it just in time to Fed Ex it to Sacramento by the March
25th deadline. This will take 90 days to process.
* For those members wanting
to get reimbursed by our team for their incurred expenses in attending the NDMS
Annual Meeting, up to the $750.00 maximum, you will need to submit a
reimbursement request,as reviewed at the last team meeting, If you want to
complete your request for reimbursement at the team meeting, make sure you bring
all your original receipts.
of February Team Meeting
Monthly Team Meeting for February was called to order shortly after 1800
hours on Wednesday Feb 26th by Team CDR Jake Jacoby at the DMAT CA-4
Operations Center.. Introductions of new members, new faces and new
attendees were made.
a.) Tom Shepardson - "Father
of DMORT" was eulogized. See below.
b.) Rough & Ready Ukraine
update (possibly moot due to Iraq war)- "Originally 9 CA-4 members going but
increased to 15 out of total of 120. Main security is California Air Guard but
some Guard members may not be able to go due to war duties. If the Rough
& Ready event is canceled the $100 visa payment to Ukraine govt. will either
be returned or forfeited." [Status uncertain]. If forfeited,
DMAT CA-4 will try to budget reimbursements into next year's budget if funds are
not available to do so this fiscal year.
c.) Smallpox immunization plan
per conference call - "Directive to immunize DMAT members under Phase I . Phase
II would include health care workers and Phase III for the general public.
Jake recommended e-mailing Therese Rymer if team member is interested in
d.) Team informed that if
a team is federalized for deployment, receives smallpox vaccination and then has
an adverse reaction...the team member would be covered by Federal Workman's
Compensation under this scenario. as long as they were
rostered at least 7 days in advance, and then go their vaccination from the
County on the date they were federalized.
DMAT members are under
NO obligation to get smallpox vaccination. It is entirely voluntary. If
NOT vaccinated, however, then a team member could conceivably be NON-deployable
for a smallpox-related DMAT mission. However, if such an event were to occur, it
is suspected that everyone and their uncle will want to get vaccinated at that
e.) LAST CALL for intermittent appointment forms.
Procedures for getting reimbursed for travel to and training expenses for the
annual meeting in Reno, NV were reviewed. "Save all airline expense receipts
w/dollar amounts (boarding passes unacceptable), hotel expenses only (no movies,
room service, massages, etc.) PLUS conference registration, up to $750. per
person." Must use DMAT CA-4 Travel Reimbursement Form #2". The five or six
members who are funded through the state will also need to sign a travel
form from UCSD, and those getting reimbursed through that mechanism may take a
little longer to get their reimbursement checks.
a.) Administrative Officer: (Zona Wahrenbrock)-
Invite to new applicants was extended to finish paperwork plus get digital
photos for I.D. cards...98 "current" dues paying members in system. Still few
people who deployed to Guam who are in arrears on their dues.
b.) Commo -
c.) Financial report (Jake Jacoby) - "Had to use team
funds to pay federal component of rent for January and February, but it will be
reimbursed by VWI from the NDMS Budget. Balance in team account approx.
$7,000 ." Jake reminded team members to make sure that he has current
e-mail addresses on file. Currently the team is "under-budget" so
opportunity exists to purchase items for team based partially upon team
member recommendations for equipment and/or supplies.
committee (Susana Pregent.)- Considering emergency preparedness
training [Submitting bids/proposals for funding?]
Logistics (Chuck Perkins) - Pallet of medical supplies needs to be
inventoried and stock confirmed within 10 days of receipt. Need to complete
inventory of the one pallet received recently and report the receipt of
f.) Nursing Director (Peggy Perkins) - Peggy
identified a need for a "Skills Day'; i.e., an opportunity for skills
assessment of the nurse members of the team. A written packet is to be
handed out at the June 2003 meeting. Applicable members will be given one
month to study the handout materials. Goal is to learn to use equipment
(demonstrate proficiency), know and understand deployment procedures,
paperwork, narcotics procedures, etc.
(Michael Sohmer) - Michael reported that he talked to Mark Gonitzke
pharmacist at CCRF re: pharmaceutical cache being sent on deployment w/MST
versus a team's "own" cache. DMAT CA-4 has ready access to
pharmaceutical cache due to working relationship w/UCSD. Bill received for
pharmaceuticals shipped to Guam for December deployment = $61,840.00 .
Michael noted that DMAT teams that don't have pharmaceutical cache "agreements"
with a sponsor such as UCSD may have high up-front costs as evidenced by the
nearly $62K "tab" for the Guam mission. Michael reminded Jake of
availability of CA-4 pharmacists available to augment other teams if
needed...Jake (to paraphrase) said: "Been there, done that...we sent Susana
& Ken to WTC with CA-2." In a nutshell, we've got that base
covered. Michael indicated that 24 vials of Cro-Fab were "left" in Guam
and perhaps should have been retrieved to the mainland. [Add that to
your after-action report, Michael.Value of the Cro-Fab is
h.) Safety committee - no discussion
committee - no discussion
j.) Tactical team - deferred.
Training - recommendation by Jake for every current team member
to take at least FIVE classes of the on-line training program by July
l.) Website - It was noted that the
team website is improving
Question to Team
CDR re: war casualties - any potential DMAT involvement? Jake explained
that Miramar could be a "receiving center" for casualties (i.e., wounded
military repatriated to their home community). DMAT could assist
with receiving patients, re-triaging them for possible deterioration during
their flight, and getting them transferred to the local NDMS hospital
beds. It was noted that the USNS Mercy could be used for a civilian
Gene Adkins (VMAT "stowaway") floated the idea of a
membership manual for CA-4 and asked if any volunteers. Web site
could fulfill this idea.
Copies of the "NDMS Clarification of Provisions
of P.L. 107-188 Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and
Response Act of 2002" was handed out to team members and were reviewed.
The intention of the law is to provide NDMS members the "same job protection and
reemployment rights as military reservists in the Federal
System". Open discussion ensued weighing pros and cons of the
"perceived but not absolute" protection(s) afforded to deployed DMAT members
under this law. General consensus seems to be that common sense and
good judgment ultimately determine whether or not a specific team member has
problems (or not) with an employer prior to or subsequent to a
deployment-related work absence.
[News items and e-mail "chatter" between
DMAT members about Tucson reservist being fired from his job with Pep Boys
underscores the perils of balancing DMAT duties with job
responsibilities...we'll probably see continued discussion about this issue at
the 3/26/03 meeting.]
***DMAT San Diego CA-4 is 1st UP for month of
Meeting was adjourned at 1958 hours.
--- Submitted by Ken
In MEMORIAM: Tom
REPRINT OF OER /Dr Kevin Yeskey's
It is with great sorrow that I announce the passing
of Thomas "Tom" Shepardson, DMORT National Commander. Early morning on
Tuesday, February 18th, our friend and dear colleague, Tom, suffered a massive
heart attack at his home in Fayetteville, New York. Tom Shepardson was a
man of strong
conviction and dedication. In response to the
Homeland Security alert of Code Orange, Tom agreed to serve at the DHHS Office
of Emergency Response in Maryland, assisting with the agency's Shuttle DMORT
mission. It was just last Saturday that Tom ended his service at
OER. He was preparing to
attend the funeral services for his good
friend and colleague, Fred Barry. Tom was saddened by Fred's passing and shared
with us his appreciation for life and all the good things God has blessed him
with. And now, we all once again must grieve and lay to rest a man
that has touched all our lives. However, we will never forget the service
and friendship and dedication Tom has shown us all. I ask all of you
to show a moment of
silence for Tom and his family, keeping them
in your thoughts and prayers.
as they go through this difficult
In lieu of flowers, the Shepardson family is asking for
donations to be sent to the "Thomas J. Shepardson Scholarship Fund" care of
Blessed Sacrament School, 3131 James Street, Syracuse, NY 13206
Tom Shepardson's deeds
large and small are recalled
Life of funeral director who helped
create disaster response team is saluted.
By Luis Perez , Staff writer
© 2003 The
Post-Standard., January 29,2003.
Thomas Shepardson spent a
lifetime helping tens of thousands grieving the deaths of their
Saturday, mourners grieved Shepardson as he was laid to
The Rev. James O'Brien, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church on
James Street , expressed the community's condolences to Shepardson's
family "on behalf of all those nameless people that have been touched
and enlightened by Tom's kindness."
Shepardson died Tuesday [Feb.18, 2003] of a heart attack, his family
said. He was 59 years old..
Saturday stood in the back of the church after the pews filled. They came
to say farewell to the Syracuse funeral director who helped create a national
disaster response team: D-MORT, or Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team.
The team collects and identifies bodies after disasters, most
recently after the Sept. 11, 2001 , terrorist attacks.
D-MORT members from across the
country attended the funeral dressed in their khaki-colored uniforms. Law
enforcement and fire officials from the city, county and state, in their
dress uniforms, also honored Shepardson.
Honor guards lined the
church's front entrance, and 10 clergy
members stood at the
altar. Shepardson's children eulogized him. They spoke of his life as a
shooting star that shone bright, but was dimmed too soon. They talked
about a man who saw so many others through their darkest moments with dignity
and respect. And they urged others who followed Shepardson's lead to
continue his important work.
"We have so much peace in the fact that my dad will be remembered
as such a beautiful person," said Laura Shepardson Lentz, his
While his father
helped tens of thousands across the country, Shepardson's best work was not done
on center stage or on a grand scale, said his son Peter
"It was those quiet times when it was just you and Tommy,"
he said. Peter Shepardson said he took great comfort in
learning from his father.
"I still need your fatherly advice," he
said. "I will still ask you
every day what to do."
was his father's partner at Frasier-Shepardson and Goddard-Crandall-Shepardson
funeral homes. He talked about his father as a patriot.
was proud of that (American) flag," Chris Shepardson said.
Sept. 11, his father couldn't help but cry at hearing
taps played, he
said. Shepardson started D-MORT at the county level, then brought it
to the state and finally the federal level, Chris Shepardson
"He has left a lot of good men and women in his place,"
Shepardson said, directing his comments to many in the front rows.
"He may have started it. But you will continue it."
Chris Shepardson was proud of his father's many
accomplishments. But his proudest moment was when the U.S.
government whisked his father from a Cali fornia vacation to help at the
Pentagon after terrorists flew a plane into it, he
"He was one of the only men flying in the country that
Chris Shepardson said.
When Shepardson came home, the
family went out to eat at a local restaurant. Shepardson was still dressed
in his D-MORT jacket. Everyone knew where he'd come from, and the
bartender offered drinks on the house that evening, Chris Shepardson
forget the efforts you guys make," he said, again referring to the D-MORT
Shepardson leaves a legacy of responding to
national tragedies, of hard work, dedication, faith, love, family and
friendship, Chris Shepardson said.
"My dad had an
abundance of all of them," he said. "I love
rose for a standing ovation.