Three Utah hospitals - Orem Community, Alta View and Primary Children's Medical Center - have joined the National Disaster Medical System.

The system is designed to respond to peacetime disasters such as earthquakes and floods, and to provide care for military casualties being returned from an overseas conflict.It is a cooperative effort of the Departments of Health and Human Services, Defense and the Veterans Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, state and local governments and agencies and the private sector.

According to officials, the system does not replace state and local disaster planning efforts, but is designed to strengthen and enhance them by supplementing needed resources if local systems are overwhelmed.