Five Iowa hospitals will sponsor medical teams trained to respond to a big disaster or terrorist attack. John Stark, who works in Iowa Department of Public Health’s Center for Disaster Operations and Response, says the 40-person teams will consist of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics and other workers. They’ll respond by coming to a local hospital that’s been overwhelmed with casualties and work with the local staff to help. Two to four times a year there will be large meetings to train teams in topics like weapons of mass destruction and public health, then every year in an exercise a team will be sent from one city to another to prove they can load equipment, get there and perform their jobs “on site.” Stark says they’re just part of a bigger disaster-response team but will make it more useful. Other federal teams will arrive within 72 hours of a disaster, but Stark says the Iowans will be there within 12 hours. Five Iowa hospitals will sponsor the teams. though their volunteer members can come from any medical facility. Stark says each group will get $73,000 in federal bio-terrorism money, for equipment and training. Hospitals sponsoring teams are: the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, the Iowa Health Systems in Des Moines, and the Mercy Medical Centers in Des Moines, Dubuque and Sioux City.
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