What to expect on an NZMAT deployment

Every disaster or emergency is different and many factors affect the conditions that you may face during a deployment.

Hours can be long and assignments are sometimes physically and emotionally challenging. Duty hours can be 12- or 16-hour shifts. Normal and ample accommodations may be available on some deployments but on others accommodations may be more austere.

Flexibility and personal preparedness are the key element to success as a deployed NZMAT volunteer.

Length of deployments

In most cases, the maximum deployment is 14 days. There is a possibility that deployments maybe extended depending on the needs of the mission.

It is your responsibility to coordinate your volunteer time with the needs of your family, employer and/or any other obligations you may have.

Leaving on deployment

The National Health Coordination Centre or delegated agency will arrange travel and accommodation, including any stopover accommodation en route.

Most NZMAT deployments will depart from Auckland where team members will be briefed and issued appropriate uniform and personal equipment.

See Part 5 of the NZMAT Operational Manual for more information.

Identification

When a volunteer has been confirmed for deployment, NZMAT ID badge and uniform will be issued. Volunteers are required to wear their issued identification items and ID badge whenever engaging in an NZMAT deployment. Loss of these items is to be reported immediately to the NZMAT Programme Manager.

NZMAT volunteers will not be allowed at a disaster/emergency site without proper identification.

Items to bring on deployment

Part 5 of the NZMAT Operational Manual outlines personal equipment and clothing required during a deployment.

Team structure

You will be assigned to a section based on your skills and the response requirements. Each section or unit with more than one staff member will have a section manager or unit leader. Unit leaders report through to their manager, and the managers, the Clinical Leader and the Deputy Team Leader report through to the NZMAT Team Leader.

Size of team

The size of the team deployed may vary from 5–40 people depending on the specific needs. It depends on the size and location of the disaster and the nature of assistance requested by the local health authority domestically or internationally.

Role of team members

Your background, training and skills will determine your role within the team. Visit the Team structure page for information on the potential team make-up.

When you register as an NZMAT volunteer, you have the opportunity to express your interest or expertise in certain areas. As you gain experience you may be offered key management or supervisory positions.

Every attempt will be made to match your skills, competencies and license or credential level with assignments during a large-scale disaster or public health emergency. However, you may be asked to assist with activities that are less challenging than your usual professional activities.

You should never accept a responsibility or assignment that is outside your scope of practice as defined by your license, registration or certification or outside of your abilities.

Pay and expenses

Pay while on deployment

Team members’ salaries or wages will be paid at their usual rates by their employers. Self-employed team members will be reimbursed at pre-agreed rates by the Ministry of Health or the lead DHB (for example, based on ‘business as usual’ fees for locums).

Deployment-related expenses

Travel, accommodation and general living expenses will be arranged by the Ministry of Health or the lead DHB, so, as a general rule, team members will not incur deployment-related expenses. However, if you incur unavoidable deployment-related expenses the Ministry of Health or lead DHB will reimburse these when proof of expenditure is supplied.

Insurance

The Ministry of Health will organise for health and travel insurance. It is your own responsibility to provide for and maintain your professional indemnity insurance.

See Part 9 of the NZMAT Operational Manual for more information.

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