What is AMTA Massage Emergency Response Team(TM) (MERT)?

  • AMTA MERT prepares and manages volunteer massage therapists for professional deployment to disaster sites to perform massage on rescue and recovery workers.
  • AMTA MERT offers emergency management agencies and rescue workers the expertise of highly qualified, professionally trained massage therapists.

How does AMTA Massage Emergency Response TeamTM operate?

  • AMTA MERT provides a framework of guidelines and safety measures within which volunteer massage therapists can participate, in accordance with local and national emergency management organizations.
  • AMTA MERT procedures ensure the safety of the public, the rescue workers and emergency management agency personnel, as well as AMTA MERT volunteers.

What are the requirements to be an AMTA MERT volunteer?

  • AMTA MERT Responder members must be Active AMTA Professional members in good standing and practicing legally or currently Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCTMB) and practicing legally.
  • AMTA MERT Chapter Coordinators and Team Leaders must be Active AMTA Professional members in good standing and practicing legally.
  • All AMTA MERT members must carry General and Professional Liability Insurance either through the AMTA and its insurance carrier, or through another source. If through another source, coverage must be equal to or greater than the coverage provided through AMTA ($2,000,000 per occurrence and $6,000,000 aggregate), and must be submitted to the Chapter when joining or renewing MERT membership.
  • Current state license, if applicable, in good standing.
  • MERT Responder applicants must complete the required Responder training course and submit signed MERT application materials and fees to the MERT Chapter. Volunteers who have not taken the MERT training may not assist onsite in a deployment or mock deployment in any capacity.
  • In order to become a MERT Team Leader and/or Chapter Coordinator, members must complete the required Leadership training course and submit signed MERT application materials and fees to the Chapter.
  • All MERT members, Team Leaders and Responders, must be retrained at least every two years unless they have participated in a deployment, real or mock, during that time period.

How does the AMTA MERT program benefit AMTA MERT volunteers?

  • AMTA MERT offers its members an opportunity that cannot be obtained through any other professional association.
  • AMTA MERT provides a vital and highly visible community outreach program that all AMTA MERT volunteers can be a part of.
  • The AMTA National Office administers and provides Group Travel Insurance for MERT members and chapters at no additional cost.

What are the responsibilities of AMTA MERT volunteers?

  • Be in compliance with all membership requirements for the AMTA MERT program.
  • Abide by the AMTA Code of Ethics for Massage Therapists.
  • Participate in an incident, when possible, at the request of a Team Leader or via a designated phone tree list for activation.
  • Administer recommended massage techniques for emergency personnel and agree to follow all the guidelines established by AMTA MERT program.

Why does AMTA MERT have rules, protocols and procedures?

  • AMTA MERT places professionally trained massage therapists in emergency response environments where their skill in therapeutic touch can bring respite to people operating with high stress levels.
  • AMTA MERT will be working alongside individuals from local, state and federal emergency management agencies, i.e., the Red Cross, the National Guard, law enforcement, and other responding agencies. Long before the concept of MERT, emergency management agencies developed policies and procedures allowing them to respond cooperatively and effectively to disasters.
  • Adoption of protocols of emergency management agencies by AMTA MERT will ensure recognition as competent responders operating within hectic environments. Before deploying, the MERT chapter must secure a signed Memorandum of Agreement with the agency requesting the MERT response.
  • AMTA MERT will integrate into the fabric of disaster response by speaking similar language and using procedures that are familiar to all emergency management personnel.