IMERT, the Illinois Medical Emergency Response Team, is comprised of some 600+ volunteers from every region of the state. These individuals come from the medical and emergency response community as well as the private sector. The volunteers train to respond to communities impacted by disasters that result in the paralysis or destruction of the healthcare infrastructure. The primary mission is to provide interim medical care by supporting local and regional resources as directed by the Incident Commander. Conditions are often austere, requiring responders to be self-sufficient.
IMERT has responded to numerous emergencies, disasters, and high risk/high profile events around the state as well as to Louisiana in response to Hurricane Katrina.
The IMERT program is multi-faceted. The response team itself has the following elements; IMERT, INVENT (the Illinois Nurse Team), USAR Medical (Urban Search and Rescue) and SWMD Medical (State Weapons of Mass Destruction Team). IMERT is capable of a flexible, scalable medical response. The initial response team roll-out can be accomplished in 24 hours. Once the response team is on site the clinical footprint is set up utilizing a package of responders from various clinical backgrounds and an equipment package for about 50 patients. The other crucial piece for response capability is the logistics component. This group is comprised of volunteers with special skill sets such as; information technology, communications, HAM radio operators, materials management, scene safety, and resource management.