Disaster Response Teams – A critical gap in medical care

In the aftermath of Haiti, the need for rapid-deployment international medical response teams became clear. Current disaster response is organized into three major groups: local/national teams, military teams and civilian teams. The current disaster response team paradigm suffers in that teams are often too big, slow or undertrained. Small, organized teams of prepared emergency responders are needed that can depart for a disaster area within six hours of a call for assistance. SEMPER plans to build, prepare and field such teams.

SEMPER will build, train and maintain teams of emergency medical care providers (physicians, nurses, emergency medical technicians [EMTs], and support personnel) ready to depart for a disaster scene within six hours following a call for help. Prior preparation will include:

  • Maintaining lists of deployable personnel (with current paperwork, immunizations, training, etc.)
  • Ensuring each responder has already prepared and packed the personal equipment necessary to be self-sufficient for a minimum of 72 hours (shelter, food, water purification, etc.) in a disaster environment
  • Maintaining a cache of critical medical equipment, supplies and pharmaceuticals for use in a disaster

How SEMPER will be utilized

It will be SEMPER’s operating procedure to be available for requests for help from recognized entities that have an established presence in the region impacted by the disaster.  These entities may be local governments, national governments, international organizations or non-governmental organizations.  It is critical that our responses be coordinated by established organizations in order to facilitate rapid entrance into the impacted region and to facilitate re-supplying the team after its first 72 hours "on the ground."