What is DMAT?

What does DMAT stand for?

DMAT is the acronym for Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

What is NDMS?

NDMS is the acronym for the National Disaster Medical System. It is a partnership of 4 agencies, that represents the Federal Response to disasters for which the ability of local and state resources is exceeded. For more information, see "Background" below.

Why is DMAT San Diego designated "CA-4"?

DMAT San Diego CA-4 is the 4th California DMAT to have signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with NDMS to respond to domestic disasters in the continental US and its possessions. It is currently categorized as a Level 1 team, which means it agrees to activate and be prepared for deployment within 6 to 8 hours of a request. CA-4 came into existence on July 19, 1991, when its MOU was signed by the Director of NDMS.


The U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), in the Dept. of Health and Human Services, is the branch of the Federal Government responsible for organizing and maintaining a national medical response capability in the event of a major disaster, per the Federal Response Plan. Responsibility for Emergency Support Function (ESF) #8 , Health and Medical Services, is vested in the Office of Emergency Response (OER)
and NDMS, in Rockville, MD. A partnership of other government agencies supports the USPHS in their roles under ESF #8. They include the Dept of Defense, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

What kinds of Missions will DMATs respond to?

In the event of a significant man-made or natural declared disaster, NDMS can activate individual DMATs, which are locally organized volunteer medical teams, for any of a number of missions for which they train: the establishment and staffing of a Patient Field Treatment site; A Regional Evacuation Point, where patients will be managed as they are prepared for flights to other cities when the ability of the local EMS/hospital system cannot cope with needs; or a Patient Reception Point, where patients who have been flown to another city will be received and examined, by a DMAT in a receiving city, and integrated into the new local EMS System.  In addition, if the entire primary care system of an area is destroyed, DMATs can be activated to deliver regional primary care until the local area can restore such a critical function. When hospitals have been severely affected, or damaged, DMATs can respond to perform hospital staff relief, or they can assist in hospital evacuations.

What does the Sponsor do?

Each DMAT has a sponsor for recruiting team members, providing training and educational opportunities, and handling basic administrative needs for such a team. We are pleased to have the University of California, San Diego Medical Center as the primary and International Relief Teams as the secondary sponsor for CA-4.

What kinds of volunteers are on DMAT San Diego CA-4?

There is a wide variety of skilled professionals on our DMAT , each contributing to the goal of being able to set up a medical team which can be self sufficient in a disaster area for up to 72 hours. In the medical area, our team has a pool of physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners, EMTs, paramedics, pharmacists and pharmacy techs, dentists, respiratory therapists, communications specialists and other allied personnel, to be able to supply medical care in an austere environment. Other support personnel are needed to enable the medical team to do its job. These include personnel in the areas of communications, security, medical supply and logistics, environmental health specialists and sanitarians.

What does being a member entail?

The team has monthly meetings and at least one or two major field exercises per year. Some members have participated in the Annual Meetings of NDMS. There are yearly dues. Members must purchase their own uniforms and personal supplies. It is anticipated that members will attend at least 1/3rd of all meetings, and participate in at least 1/3rd of all exercises, to maintain their membership. It is anticipated that they will make every effort to adjust their schedules to so they can deploy in the event of an activation.
If activated Federally, each member is paid a stipend based on their job category, becoming an employee of the PHS for the period of deployment. Their state professional license becomes Federalized, allowing the practice of medicine and nursing or the performance of EMT activities within the scope of their practice in all US states and territories.

What about volunteers? Can I join?

Of course, as long as you have the skills that would enable you to fill one of the official job titles associated with NDMS, you are employable in the US, and, if required, you are licensed in at least one state, where your professional license is current.

Where do I call to get an application?

Email the CA-4 Administrative Officer, Zona Wahrenbrock at zwahrenbrock@san.rr.com.

How is the DMAT funded?

DMAT CA-4 is a voluntary organization, and subsists under the umbrella of our sponsors. One main Fund raiser is held, an annual Walk- A- Thon . The team receives no cash funds from the Federal Government, and members are not paid for their participation in exercises. Most of the property used by CA-4 is Federal property, and the rest is obtained by the team through donations in kind or through purchase.

Does DMAT CA-4 accept donations?

Yes. Donations are accepted in several forms. Donation of useful unexpired medical supplies, equipment, useful pharmaceuticals or vehicles would be appreciated. Cash donations are also accepted and would be tax deductible contributions. Checks should be made payable to the order of:

Office Postal Mailing Address:
DMAT San Diego CA-4
c/o Dept of Emergency Medicine
UCSD Medical Center
200 West Arbor Dr
San Diego, CA 92103-8676

Mailing Address for Express Mail, Physical Location of Office:
UCSD Multi-Purpose Facility
402 W Dickinson St, Suite 3-340
San Diego, CA 92103-8676
FAX: 619-543-3115
Tel. 619-543-6463
24 hour Info Line: 619-543-6216
24 hour Duty Officer: 543-6737, pager #3029

A Disaster Medical Assistance Team Sponsored by the UCSD Medical Center
National Disaster Medical System
US Public Health Service
Office of Emergency Preparedness
12300 Twinbrook Parkway,Suite 360
Rockville, MD 20852
Tel. 800-USA-NDMS