The Texas Emergency Medical Task Force program provides a well-coordinated response, offering rapid professional medical assistance to emergency operation systems during large-scale incidents. EMTF components will only be tasked outside of their jurisdiction when their local area is unaffected.
The purpose of the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force (TXEMTF) program is to build alternate care capacity with an acute care medical focus, such as emergency medical transport, hospital surge staffing, and mobile medical units that could be deployed during a large mass-casualty event, significant regional event or incident, statewide disaster, a pandemic response or any other event that requires surge capacity and capability to augment the response for the healthcare delivery system. The TXEMTF is part of a much larger statewide public health and medical response system known as the Texas Disaster Medical System (TDMS).
The EMTF is “One Team” and is designed to respond to disasters or events to provide care and / or transportation. When requested, the 8 EMTF regions of Texas work together to provide teams, to maintain and house assets, and to deploy personnel and resources.
Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) have both hospitals and EMS agencies in their membership and are charged with developing disaster response plans for acute healthcare emergencies. The EMTFs were organized around multi-RAC regions to leverage the capabilities of several trauma systems. The partnered RACs then selected a “Lead” RAC to be responsible for equipment purchases, providing a coordinator, and the general organization of the EMTF. The 8 EMTF regions of Texas coordinate personnel, assets, and responses within their region. EMTF resources may be requested by contacting your Lead RAC or DDC.
Recognizing the unique needs of large-scale patient movements as well as the challenge of scarce resources during times of disaster, each Emergency Medical Task Force region will have 2 fully staffed multi-patient vehicles, more commonly known as an AMBUS. EMTF 8 has 2 AMBUSs hosted regionally, 1 with the San Antonio Fire Department and 1 with Schertz EMS.
Each EMTF region maintains a minimum of 5 Ambulance Strike Teams. Each of these strike teams consist of 5 ambulances with crews and a strike team leader. Ambulance Strike Teams may be deployed either regionally or statewide and are coordinated and led by an ambulance strike team leader with specialized training, who will travel in a separate vehicle to allow for flexibility.
The most intricate component of an EMTF is the Mobile Medical Unit. Essentially a 16-32 bed deployable Emergency Department, the MMU team is comprised of ER Physicians, ER Nurses, Paramedics and Techs with the appropriate tentage and life-saving equipment to provide emergency care and stabilization capability in austere environments for multiple operational periods. Designed to be rapidly deployable and configurable to incident specific needs, the EMTF MMU is an incredible resource for any impacted jurisdiction.
Groups of specialized nurses may be deployed during State-tasked assignments to assist an over-taxed medical facility. A prime example of this would be a hospital receiving a surge of patients following a catastrophic incident such as a hurricane or a food borne illness in addition to the higher than normal number of individuals seeking hospital care who may not be ill. These nurses will be deployed into hospitals to provide care as they would if they were at their home agency.
The Medical Incident Support Team consists of acute healthcare leadership trained to support local jurisdictions, healthcare facilities and local healthcare infrastructure during disasters anywhere in the state of Texas. M-IST personnel deploy to impacted local emergency operations centers, regional medical operations centers, and Texas Department of Public Safety regional headquarters to support the DDC and provide integrated health and medical support to authorities having jurisdiction, government agencies, hospitals, and state response partners during incidents and events.
The Ambulance Staging Manager Program began in 2009 following the Hurricane Season of 2008. This course has been developed by leaders and responders based on lessons learned during statewide responses as well as regional responses and incidents nationwide.
EMTF 8 is comprised of partners from Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council (Trauma Service Area P) and the Golden Crescent Regional Advisory Council (Trauma Service Area S). Serving as the “Lead” RAC for administrative, operational and programmatic management for EMTF 8, the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council (STRAC) facilitates the regional implementation of the EMTF concept, functionality, and standardization of EMTF initiatives.