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Before Katrina, before 9/11, there was a growing awareness of the need for a special medical response team in Illinois. This team of doctors, nurses, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians would be trained and ready to assist local emergency responders in cases of extreme and catastrophic man-made or natural disasters.

While such a disaster has not befallen people in Illinois, IMERT, the Illinois Medical Emergency Response Team, which boasts 1200 volunteers from across the state, was established to assist local emergency responders deal with catastrophic emergencies.

The extensive training IMERT members receive has expanded and become more effective since IMERT teamed with Governors State University in University Park.