The Disaster Response Team (DRT) of the Maryland State Funeral Directors Association (MSFDA) was created to respond to mass fatality incidents in the state of Maryland as well as being available to assist in other areas of the country.
Following the same operating and training procedures as the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team (DMORT)—a federal level response unit—the DRT is a first responder to mass fatality incidents and can quickly deploy to a crisis. The DRT is also available to work in concert with DMORT, and some members of MSFDA’s Disaster Response Team are also members of DMORT.
The DRT’s mission is to perform all necessary functions required to resolve an incident which include, but are not limited to, embalming, funeral directing, shipping, logistics, safety, security, and family assistance, as well as all aspects of mass fatality response and the required paperwork involved in the resolution of the incident.
MSFDA’s DRT’s members consist of licensed funeral directors and other professionals who specialize in areas such as communications and information technology. All members receive extensive mass fatality awareness training and are certified to respond to such emergency incidents. Training involves classroom instruction and mock disaster incident drills that are coordinated with local, state and federal emergency agencies. Mass fatality training is provided by a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) certified instructor as well as senior DRT members who have had direct experience in responding to emergency situations. The DRT works closely with local, state and federal agencies such as the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office of Preparedness Response (DHMH), Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Maryland (OCME). DRT members also receive continuous training subsequent to certification through drills coordinated with these emergency response agencies which enable DRT members to stay current and fully prepared to respond to any emergency.
The DRT can be activated by the following agencies: OCME, MEMA, DHMH, FEMA, the U.S. Office of Homeland Security, and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). When called upon by local fire or police, the DRT will respond in conjunction with the aforementioned agencies.
Since the inception of MSFDA’s DRT, many members have been deployed to mass fatality and emergency situations such as to Louisiana and Mississippi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and one of our members who is also a member of DMORT, was part of the deployment to Haiti, responding to the devastation caused by an earthquake.
The DRT is working with Maryland’s state, county and Baltimore City emergency preparedness managers to assist with their crisis response procedures, and MSFDA’s certification training model is being used for those plans.
The Maryland State Funeral Directors Association has trained and partially funded a disaster response team (DRT) that is capable of handling mass fatality incidents. The Maryland DRT can and will perform all the necessary functions required to resolve the incident, which includes but is not limited to, embalming, funeral directing, shipping, logistics, safety, security, family assistance center operation and all aspects of mass fatality response, as well as all the necessary paperwork involved for the resolution of the incident. This DRT can be activated by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of Maryland; the Maryland State Department of Emergency Management; the Maryland State Department of Health & Mental Hygiene; the Maryland State Office of Homeland Security; the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and/or the United States Office of Homeland Security. When called upon by local fire or police the DRT will respond in conjunction with the previously mentioned agencies and can be activated in whole or in part and may even respond to surrounding mutual-aid states as requested.
Review the DRT Response Plan in its entirety.
To learn more about the Disaster Response Team, please contact the DRT’s Commander, Jim Bruzdzinski at firstname.lastname@example.org.