NM-1 Team Commander Byron Piatt
NM DMAT Comander Byron Piatt working in a federal medical station on the LSU campus.

New Mexico’s Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) is deploying to Baton Rouge to assist victims of the flooding in central Louisiana, University of New Mexico emergency managers announced Monday.

The team was expected to arrive in Louisiana late Monday, when they will receive specific medical support instructions.

DMAT includes physicians and other medical professionals, as well as specialists in safety, administration, communications, security and chaplain services. The team could augment an existing team in an existing facility, or establish a stand-alone facility. The deployment could last up to two weeks. 

New Mexico's DMAT is a part of the National Disaster Medical System, which deploys teams to provide medical support to events of national significance. Teams are prepared to be deployed for up to 14 days at a time to austere environments to treat patients in disaster situations. They can be outfitted to treat up to 250 patients per day for up to three days without resupply. Similarly, individual team members are required to provide for themselves for up to three days without resupply. 

UNM Chancellor for Health Sciences Paul Roth, MD, is the founder of NM DMAT, the nation’s first team and the first deployed to a U.S. disaster site. The program is part of the Center for Disaster Medicine, in the UNM Department of Emergency Medicine. 

Since its formation in 1984 and first deployment in 1989, NM DMAT has responded to the World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist attacks, as well as 10 U.S. hurricanes, including Katrina, Andrew and Hugo, and earthquakes in Haiti and Northridge, Calif. The team has also deployed closer to home - during the 2000 Cerro Grande Fire in Los Alamos. Its most recent deployment was in 2013 to Moore, Okla. after a tornado claimed 24 lives and destroyed houses, schools and businesses.