The Southeastern State Medical Assistance Team (SMAT) is a multi-discipline volunteer team of medical and non-medical professionals, established to provide mobile medical support for short and long term disasters or catastrophic events. Roles in which the Southeastern SMAT can provide support include set up and provision of a mobile field treatment facility, regional and state logistics support, and community alternate care site support.
The Southeastern SMAT is based in Wilmington, North Carolina and is coordinated by the Southeastern Healthcare Preparedness Coalition. Funding for the Southeastern SMAT is provided through a federal grant from the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response’s Healthcare Preparedness Program. Funding and support is also provided by the Division of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), allowing Southeastern SMAT members to participate in MRC unit activities as well.
In 2002, the North Carolina State Medical Response System (SMRS) developed 8 Regional State Medical Assistance Teams (SMAT). Clinical considerations for patients included the consequences of bio-terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Recognizing the need to increase medical surge capacity, local, regional, and state agencies in North Carolina concentrated their efforts on developing this important emergency response capacity. The SMAT framework focused on the development of hospital, EMS, and fire department-based teams capable of providing medical decontamination, medical triage, emergency medical treatment, and medical surge capacity in hospital and field settings.
This framework identified three tiers of SMATs. These tiers were identified as SMAT I, SMAT II, and SMAT III. The SMAT I is a State-level response entity that manages the Mobile Disaster Hospital. In 2009, after years of development, the prototype Mobile Disaster Hospital (MDH) unit was assigned to North Carolina through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and North Carolina. The MDH is an asset that has generally all of the capabilities found in a typical community hospital. The MDH has a primary mission to support North Carolina and FEMA Region IV states. SMAT II’s are region-level response entities that were developed within each Trauma Region. Their mission was to provide rapid mass casualty medical management services during human-made or natural disasters. 29 SMAT III’s were developed in various county EMS systems across the state, with a focus on improving local decontamination and triage capabilities.
For more information on joining the Southeastern Healthcare Preparedness Region's SMAT team., you will need to register in the North Carolina Training - Exercise - Response Management System (NC-TERMS).