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Ministry Status: Activation Status

Emergency Planning and Preparedness

Emergency Medical Assistance Team (EMAT)

Questions and Answers


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When was the Emergency Medical Assistance Team (EMAT) established and why?

The EMAT is a mobile medical field unit that can be on site within 24 hours in a community with road-access, and can provide a staging and triage base for patients prior to transporting them to hospital.


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What kind of health care support does the EMAT provide?

The EMAT is a mobile medical field unit that can be on site within 24 hours, and can provide a staging and triage base for patients prior to transporting them to hospital. The EMAT has the capability to treat 20 acute care patients and 36 intermediate care patients, as well as provide :

  • patient isolation in the case of an infectious disease outbreak;
  • medical support and decontamination in the case of a chemical, biological or radiological incident; and
  • case management and triage of patients in a mass casualty situation.

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Who can request assistance from the EMAT?

Any community that is unsure about the impact of the occurring health emergency, as well as its ability to respond to the situation, should contact the Health System Emergency Management Branch (HSEMB) of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, early in the crisis. This will allow for a timely assessment for the deployment of EMAT.

See Contact information for the EMB.


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How quickly can the EMAT be in place?

Once the HSEMB of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care deploys the EMAT, it can be on site anywhere in Ontario with road access, within 24 hours of dispatch. Once the EMAT arrives at the destination, it takes approximately four to six hours to become fully operational.

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How is the EMAT staffed?

The system uses on-call health care professionals who volunteer to work on the EMAT. Team members come from a variety of locations so that no single area is without vital health human resources.

There are approximately 160 staff which include acute care nurses, medical radiation technologists, physicians, critical and advanced care paramedics and social workers.

The staff is specially trained to respond to a variety of major health emergencies including natural disasters, infectious disease outbreaks and chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents. Once the EMAT is dispatched and is on its way to the site of the emergency, the EMAT on-call staff is alerted and transported to the site.


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How is the EMAT staff protected?

The EMAT staff has the appropriate training and skills to function as a team in a health emergency environment involving infectious diseases outbreaks, natural disasters or chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents. The EMAT also has a range of personal protective equipment to protect staff from potential chemicals or infectious diseases while deployed.


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Why does Ontario need the EMAT?

Health emergencies that cause significant human injury or illness can sometimes overwhelm the health care resources of the community in which they occur. The EMAT can provide the medical resources needed in any community that is unable to manage large number of patients resulting from a health emergency.


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For More Information

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Health System Emergency Management Branch
1075 Bay Street, Suite 810
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5S 2B1
Fax : 416-212-4466
TTY : 1-800-387-5559
E-mail : emergencymanagement.moh@ontario.ca

 

Health workers and health sector employers can call the Healthcare Provider Hotline for more information
Toll free : 1-866-212-2272

CritiCall Ontario provides a 24 hour call centre for hospitals to contact on-call specialists; arrange for appropriate hospital bed access and facilitate urgent triage for patients
1-800-668-4357