The Hawaii DMAT team recently deployed to support the recovery efforts from Hurricane Irma in Florida. A DMAT team is a Disaster Medical Assistance Team and is a group of professional and para-professional medical personnel organized to provide rapid-response medical care or casualty decontamination during a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or other incident in the United States.

The Hawaii DMAT Team, also known as “Kalawao Rescue”, constituted of five members that are amateur radio operators supporting the communication efforts. The team returned to Hawaii on 20 September 2017.

The five amateur radio operators that mobilized with the HI DMAT Team to Florida consisted of:
Toby Clairmont – KH7FR
Bart Aronoff – KH7C
Jack Tsujimura- KH6DQ
Jayson Kohama – WH6BXK
Carter Davis- KH6FV

HI DMAT Key West H Irma
HI DMAT Key West in support of Hurricane Irma September 2017

The team helped stand up a medical surge facility so residence could be treated and continued to run the facility until they were relieved by PA-1 DMAT.  Because of the difficulty of getting flights to Atlanta, GA from Hawaii, the team departed Hawaii on September 5 & 6. Atlanta was their first staging point then they drove 6 vans to Orlando and then flew out of Orlando into Key West. Lots of logistics with people and cache of equipment. The DMAT team flew out of Orlando and into Key West on 2 USCG C-130s and were the first outside federal resource to arrive.  Two C17s flew in with the team’s cache from Virginia. Initially they had no power (the team had generators), zero to limited running water, no showers, only MREs and no internet, no cell phone… just the stars at night and Dengue/Zika mosquitoes, Carter stated.

HI DMAT BOO Key West in support of Hurricane Irma Recovery September 2017

A Federal Force Protection team from Texas provided protection for the personal and the cache of supplies and pharmaceuticals.  The first Satellite call out was, “how to get an ice machine running?”  We got it going and boy does cold water go down better than warm water.  The team left a lot of aloha there Carter stated.

Hawaii DMAT is also known as Kalawao Rescue within the State of Hawaii; a nonfederal configuration of the team that provides enhanced services to the State of Hawaii. Kalawao Rescue is administered by HAH Emergency Services.

HAH Emergency Services, a division of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii,  deploys emergency response teams Hawaii DMAT for casualty care, aeromedical transport, medical surge and incident management.

Hawaii DMAT is a trained corps of medical professionals who respond to calls for medical surge, disaster and humanitarian assistance throughout the U.S. and the Pacific Region. There are currently more than 75 members of Hawaii DMAT. Hawaii DMAT provides on-scene high acuity casualty care services within 2 to 4 hours of request.

Thanks to Carter, KH6FV, for providing the information and to him and the team for their support of this effort.

You can find the Hawaii DMAT team Fact sheet by clicking here

ARRL Public Information Officer – Honolulu