JERSEY CITY, NJ ― Federal, state and county officials joined emergency medical services (EMS) personnel from around the state to celebrate EMS Week with a display of emergency equipment that has been purchased to enhance the state’s ability to respond to large-scale emergencies Post 9/11, said Richard L. Cañas, Director of New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. Members of the New Jersey Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Task Force, which was formally established in 2003 to meet the needs of EMS responders throughout the state to catastrophes of major proportions, demonstrated more than 20 pieces of specialized equipment first responders will use in the event of an emergency. This equipment included:
- A 40-foot Technology Support Unit, capable of providing communications and technological support to large operations.
- A 36.5-foot Mass Care Response Unit, which functions as a mobile emergency room to provide medical support to mass casualty incidents, capable of managing more than 100 patients from a mass casualty incident.
- A 38-foot Special Operations Vehicle to provide logistical support to extended EMS operations, capable of transporting ambulatory and stretcher patients and equipment.
- Several Logistics Support and Staging Area Management Trailers, capable of providing support equipment and EMS assets at large events.
Cañas said that to date, more than $10 million has been spent on the equipment, using a combination of federal and state grants, including the federal Urban Area Security Initiative, (UASI) grant program and the Medical Preparedness, (MEDPREP) grant program managed by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS). The equipment is positioned strategically throughout the state, Cañas said. “Using UASI and other federal and state funds to invest in this equipment is part of the state’s strategy to respond to large-scale emergencies, whether from a terrorist attack or natural disasters,” Cañas said. “Any major event will require a rapid response from the EMS community; we have to ensure they have the necessary equipment so they can safely and efficiently perform their vital duties.” “This equipment will help first responders minister effectively to victims and will ease the burden on the state’s hospitals during and after a catastrophic event,” said Department of Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard. “New Jersey has thousands of talented and dedicated emergency responders and it is fitting that we are displaying this equipment and recognizing their valiant service during National Emergency Medical Services Week,” she said. “The addition of this equipment enhances our state’s and local first responders’ ability to protect our residents and our infrastructure during and after an emergency,” said New Jersey State Police Superintendent, Colonel Joseph R. “Rick” Fuentes, who also serves as the Director of the State’s Office of Emergency Management. “The Task Force’s nearly 200 members and more than 40 participating agencies will prove invaluable during any disaster.” The New Jersey EMS Task Force is a multi-agency, all-hazards response organization coordinated through the Office of Emergency Medical Services at the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services. Task Force members, who represent career and volunteer organizations from around the state, undergo extensive training on how to respond to large scale emergencies. Task Force members have been deployed to provide response assistance and other support for large-scale emergencies, including Hurricane Katrina, New Jersey’s April 2007 Nor’easter and last summer’s wildfires at Warren Grove.
For more information, contact: Dominic Rota, NJOHSP Phone: (609) 588-7250
Tom Slater, NJDHSS Phone: (609) 984-5348