What We Do
The MAHPC State Medical Assistance Team (SMAT) is one of eight similar teams across North Carolina that are a part of the State Medical Response System (SMRS). The SMRS is coordinated by the Office of Emergency Medical Services in an effort to improve the State’s ability to respond to emergent events that impact healthcare. This volunteer-based team responds to impacted areas within the MAHPC Region, the State of NC, within the southeastern United States, and potentially within the continental US.
The SMAT program saw it first major response during Hurricane Katrina. Members of the MAHPC SMAT, and several other SMAT IIs and SMAT IIIs deployed to Waveland, Mississippi to provide a mobile field hospital for the area for over eight weeks. Other SMAT II members from across NC responded to Charlotte to assist with the reception of people and patients who had been evacuated from the Gulf area. The lessons learned from this response showed that equipment for mobile treatment facilities was needed to ensure NC could better support itself in the face of a similar event since NC is very prone to hurricanes. The result was the purchase and distribution of 8 Western Shelter Mobile Response Trailer Systems that included a 53’ trailer, which came with 6 Gate Keeper 19×35 tent systems each. The tent systems could be set up individually, or connected with each other, and included provisions for power, light, and HVAC. The trailer was also designed to double as staff billeting and a command post, and also carries the generator for the tent system. The teams also received beds, medical equipment, and supplies to establish a 40-bed treatment facility. Over the years each team has made additions and adjustments to its system, equipment, and supplies to improve their capabilities and more fully support their specific service areas.
While SMAT members are typically sponsored by the healthcare organization for which they work, Medical Reserve Corps members are strictly volunteers that support the program in the same manner. The two groups work seamlessly together, and their activities and responsibilities are interchangeable. In fact, all MAHPC SMAT members are also enrolled in the MRC program, as participation in MRC allows for additional training and resources.
From a non-emergent perspective, the MAHPC SMAT and MRC participates in or assists with multiple local, regional, state, and national events and exercises. In many cases this included providing personnel, logistics, or both. Some of these events include:
- Quake on the Blue Ridge, 2012 & 2014
- Farm City Day, 2013
- Asheville Marathon at the Biltmore 2015, 2016
- North Carolina SMRS Exercise in 2013
- Western NC NDMS Exercise in 2013
- North Carolina SMRS Exercise in 2014
MAHPC SMAT equipment is also frequently used to support regional healthcare facilities and providers during mass gatherings, facility maintenance or outages, or other situations.