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Texarkana, Arkansas, Fire Department Battalion Chief Rick Pavick has recently deployed as team leader of the National Disaster Medical System AR-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

The team will be providing care to patients exposed to the coronavirus in the western part of the United States, said TAFD Chief David Fletcher. The team should be deployed for at least two weeks.

"We are proud to have one of our personnel leading this team. It's a source of pride for us," Fletcher said.

Across the country, almost 5,000 professionals serve with NDMS.

The NDMS is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. Teams consist of physicians, nurses, EMTs, paramedics, firefighters and other emergency response disciplines that would deploy and provide medical care.

The teams frequently respond to hurricanes, flood or other natural disasters, along with man-made disasters and disease outbreaks. Teams consist of doctors, nurses, paramedics and other medical staff. Pavick is a paramedic, Fletcher said.

Similar to the military reserves, NDMS employees have regular jobs, but serve on a rotational on-call schedule and deploy as intermittent federal employees in an emergency response or as part of a national security special event. Team members must be committed to staying at the disaster site for up to two weeks.

"It's great that(Pavick) is going, and when he gets back we can use that knowledge he learned here locally," Fletcher said.

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