Middlesex and Somerset Counties Team Up for Community Disaster Exercise

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SAYREVILLE – The Middlesex County and Somerset County Offices of Emergency Management (OEM) have teamed up with Old Bridge Township OEM and Sayreville OEM to host a dual-county Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) exercise on Oct. 9, beginning at 8 a.m. at the Middlesex County Fire Academy.

“I cannot underscore enough the importance of emergency preparation and planning,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Mildred S. Scott, chairperson of the county’s Law and Public Safety Committee. “We consistently put our paid staff through training exercises so that they are prepared to respond effectively and efficiently to any emergency. I am proud and very thankful to the volunteer members of the Community Emergency Response Teams not only for being here today, but for their willingness to put themselves into harm’s way to help their neighbors.”

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“Somerset County likewise is grateful to its many municipal CERT volunteers for coming forward to learn how to assist their communities in an emergency,” said Somerset County Freeholder Robert Zaborowski, liaison to the county’s Office of Emergency Management. “This is an excellent training opportunity for these volunteers, and one that we are pleased to rotate annually with our neighboring county of Middlesex.”

“I am proud that Middlesex County and Somerset County are partnering on this important endeavor,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano. “Cross training is invaluable in any emergency situation and our ability to work together only strengthens our response.”

The exercise will involve 16 teams from Middlesex and Somerset Counties as well as each county’s Medical Reserve Corps. “The goal of this exercise is to continue to expand our CERT member’s training and to practice their emergency skills in a safe, but realistic environment” said Barry Eck, Sayreville Municipal OEM Coordinator.

The day-long exercise will be comprised of 2 scenarios. In the morning, the teams will work together on a mass-area missing person’s search. In the afternoon, the teams will handle a building collapse scenario with over 40 victims who will have to be located and triaged. After triage, the 40 victims will be transported to 2 local hospitals. “What is exciting about this year’s exercise is that we will be working with area hospitals in a Mass Casualty Incident scenario”, said Doug Vornlocker, Somerset County OEM Coordinator. Both County’s Medical Reserve Corps will work together to set-up and utilize a field hospital.

“It is important for us to continue our emergency preparedness efforts and this is one of many steps taken to assure that we are prepared to respond to catastrophic events, either natural or man-made, should they occur” said Rory Zach, Middlesex County OEM Coordinator. “This exercise brings together all of the emergency preparedness elements and allows them to respond together in a purposeful way, utilizing their years of training”, said Dom Ciccio, Old Bridge Township OEM Coordinator

Participating in this exercise will be CERT’s from the following municipalities: Bernardsville, Bound Brook, Branchburg, Bridgewater, Hillsborough, Manville, Montgomery, North Brunswick, Old Bridge, Perth Amboy, Piscataway, Raritan, Sayreville, Somerset, Warren and Woodbridge. Other participating agencies include: Morgan and South Amboy First Aid Squads, The Perth Amboy and Old Bridge divisions of Raritan Bay Medical Center, The Salvation Army and the New Jersey State Police.

Municipal and County CERT programs are comprised of volunteers who help their communities prepare for and respond to all types of disasters through education, training and volunteer service. Based on the tradition of “neighbor helping neighbor,” CERT programs build strong communities, enhance the capabilities of emergency service organizations, and empower individuals to act responsibly and respond appropriately during critical times.


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