A retired firefighter/paramedic from Cleveland, Tennessee, Pamerla Quick, is back home from Washington, DC, after providing medical support during the 2019 State of the Union Address on Tuesday.
Ms. Quick serves as a member of the National Disaster Medical System’s (NDMS) Disaster Medical Assistance Team. During events such as the State of the Union, NDMS personnel along with U.S.
Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers stand ready to provide advanced life support and basic medical care to everyone attending the event.
NDMS is a federally-administered program that can support communities with medical care, veterinarian care, and mortuary assistance during disasters or public health emergencies. NDMS is among the resources made available by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). It also works behind the scenes at some of our nation’s biggest events, often at the request of the Congressional Office of the Attending Physician, the U.S. Capitol Police, or the U.S. Secret Service.
“Typically at events like this we see people who have minor cuts or sprains or other non-life threatening injuries or illnesses,” said Ron Miller, director of ASPR’s NDMS. “However, we also can provide initial life-saving care for more serious injuries or illnesses and stabilize patients for transportation by DC Fire/EMS to a local hospital.”
NDMS teams consist of physicians, nurses, paramedics, fatality management professionals, veterinarians, and experienced command and control staff. There are more than 6,000 team members organized into 70 response teams. Providing medical care during emergencies and special events, such as the State of the Union Address, can overwhelm local and state resources. ASPR looks to the expertise within NDMS from across the country to assist in the response.
During the State of the Union Address, the Vice President, First Lady, Cabinet Secretaries, both Houses of Congress, Supreme Court Justices, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other senior level government officials come together in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol. The State of the Union Address gives the President the opportunity to report on the condition of our nation and outline his legislative agenda and priorities to Congress and the American people.
As part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ASPR’s mission is to save lives and protect Americans from 21st century health security threats. ASPR leads the nation’s medical and public health preparedness for, response to, and recovery from disasters and public health emergencies. During special security events like the State of the Union Address, ASPR stands ready to serve in case of an emergency. For more information about federal medical response and NDMS, visit www.phe.gov