Hospital Benefits of Participation

Valuable Training  - team members receive advanced training in disaster preparedness (ICS, WMD, decontamination, mass casualty care, setting up an alternate care facility, mass vaccination, etc). These individuals can then use the training  to benefit their respective hospitals. They can lead disaster preparedness committees, provide training,be an expert contributor, and assist in identifying needed resources.

Hospital Representation  - Having representation on the team allows each hospital in our region to be "plugged-in" and aware of regional assets and regional disaster plans. It therefore helps prevent duplication of resources and assists in identifying resources that the respective hospitals may need.

Grant Benefits  - Offering nurses to the regional team meets requirements of the NC Hospital Bioterrorism Preparedness Program HRSA grant.

Cost Effective - After action reports from multiple disasters have indicated that hospitals should be prepared to care for their own needs in a disaster for the first 24-48 hours. And now, after seeing the devastation in the Gulf, we learn that self-sufficiency should include planning for up to 5-7 days. There is no way that a hospital can stockpile enough medication, supplies, staff, etc to cover that time period considering all of the possible hazards that it might face. It is only logical that participation in the regional team ensures that the regional hospitals' sharing of these resources is most cost efficient. Efficient  - By having a fully operational regional team, an alternate care facility can be established to prevent a surge of patients on any one hospital in our region, thereby preventing dangerous overtaxing of the facility. The SMAT can also establish an alternate care facility in the affected community to prevent contamination by a chemical or epidemiological agent.
Sense of Community- Team membership foster's a regional commitment to helping neighbors if the need ever arises. The SERAC Regional Disaster Plan and the NC Hospital Association's Mutual Aid Agreement address issues of exchange of personnel and supplies in a disaster. And now, the Coastal Carolina's Health Alliance is also working on adopting regional agreements to assist in disasters. Regional planning is the key.
Indispensable  - If a disaster isolates the region, as did Hurricane Floyd, outside resources will not be able to reach the affected areas quickly enough. Having the SMAT available to respond in the region will help support medical needs. And, having knowledgeable staff members who participate in SMAT will enable the individual hospitals to better cope with the event.

Professionally Fulfilling - And least quantifiable, membership offers nurses, and other staff, an opportunity for professional growth. It allows nurses a chance to broaden their skills and practice in a non-traditional role. Hospitals may turn participation into an opportunity to enrich professional involvement opportunities for their staff, thereby possibly increasing job satisfaction and reducing staff turnover.