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Alaska-1 DMAT Team Members swearing In prior to deployment to New York City, on Friday, September 28, 2001

Alaska-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team prior to boarding the flight to New York City, Sunday, September 30, 2001. The Team’s mission while on the East Coast was to support the recovery efforts of New York City immediately following the September 11th attacks.

Governor Tony Knowles Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 25, 2001 01-211

Alaska MEDICAL Response Team to Deploy to New York
Alaskans Welcome Active Role in Supporting Recovery Effort

Gov. Tony Knowles says Alaska is proud of its 44-member emergency medical team that will be sent to New York City in early October to aid in recovery efforts at the World Trade Center, site of a recent terrorist attack.

"Following the attacks, Alaskans have given generously both in donations and prayers. Federal deployment of this medical assistance team is another example of Alaska's commitment to the national recovery effort," Knowles said. "Alaska is proud to play an active role as America comes together in response to this terrible tragedy and we stand by to assist the nation further as needed."

The Alaska-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team, or AK-1 DMAT, consists of professional and paraprofessional medical and support personnel who volunteer to provide emergency medical care during a natural or man-made disaster or other event. From October 10 through 22, the Alaska team will be activated as a federal response team and deployed to New York City, where they will provide medical support to rescue and recovery workers at ground zero, the site of the terrorist attacks.

DMAT members are primarily from Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley, but also from other parts of the state. They include physicians, nurses, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, and support staff. Members of the AK-1 DMAT are volunteers until deployment, when they become federalized employees of the U.S. Government.

“No one on the team is happy to receive the call to deploy because that means someone is hurt and we wouldn’t wish for that,” said Phyllis Goodwin, Commander, AK-1 DMAT. “However, if people are hurt and need our help, we want to be there to give whatever assistance we can.”

The AK-1 DMAT is part of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), within the federal Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Emergency Preparedness. The NDMS is a cooperative asset-sharing program among federal agencies, state and local governments, and private businesses and civilian volunteers which ensures that resources are available to provide medical services following a disaster and to assist the local health care system and emergency personnel.

Level one DMATs like the team from Alaska are equipped to deploy to a disaster site with sufficient supplies and equipment to sustain themselves for 72 hours while providing medical care. There are 27 Level 1 DMATs in the United States.

Alaskans are already participating directly in the recovery effort. Last week, Knowles sent Jim Harris, a program manager in the recovery section of the Alaska Division of Emergency Services, to New York to work a two-week shift.