District Fire Philip Ballard was the recipient of the COVID-19 Pandemic Civilian Service Medal for exemplary service to the nation as a part of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) during the federal medical response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chief Ballard serves as a member of an NDMS Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT).
NDMS is a federal program that can support communities with medical care, veterinary care, and mortuary assistance during disasters or public health emergencies at the request of states; NDMS is among the resources made available by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR).
Chief Ballard received the medal during the recent National Disaster Medical System Training Summit in Indianapolis, Indiana. The medal was awarded to approximately 1,400 NDMS responders under the authority of the U.S. Surgeon General who may authorize the issuance of the COVID-19 Pandemic Civilian Service Medal to civilians who deployed to provide medical care to state, territory, tribal, and local partners.
“The COVID-19 pandemic strained our country’s health care system and medical personnel for almost three years,” said NDMS Director Michael Smith. “Chief Ballard and his NDMS colleagues served as a lifeline to hundreds of hospitals and long-term care facilities by providing temporary relief to staff, adding bed capacity, and improving outcomes for COVID-19 patients. This medal is reflective of his self-less commitment to the public health and medical needs of our residents.” Since the start of the pandemic, NDMS has conducted more than 1,800 support missions and deployed thousands of medical, logistical, and command and control personnel from NDMS to help nearly 50 states, territories, and jurisdictions respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, NDMS teams stand ready to provide medical surge support should a resurgence of COVID-19 occur this fall or winter. NDMS teams also remain on call to deploy after a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, tornado, or wildfire. To learn more about HHS’ response to COVID-19, please visit https://aspr.hhs.gov/COVID-19/. For more information about ASPR and NDMS, visit https://aspr.hhs.gov/NDMS/.