Protecting Public Health

By Middlesex County Freeholder Carol Barrett Bellante
Chair, Committee of Public Health and Education

Mass emergencies from natural or man-made events may occur quickly and without warning. To ensure that the county is prepared to deal with such situations, we constantly work to obtain new safety resources and updated training for our employees.

Through the use of Federal Homeland Security and State grants, as well as county funds, the county has been able to strengthen its preparedness and response efforts. One such addition is the Gatekeeper Shelter System, recently purchased by the Middlesex County Public Health Department with grant money.


The Gatekeeper is a portable, expandable system that can be used during emergency events as a medical field hospital, an isolation and quarantine facility or community reception center. This valuable resource will allow for immediate medical response in many situations and will enable the County Health Department to support the efforts of area hospitals during an emergency.

This system provides more than 3,000 square feet of space and is equipped with a power generator, climate control capabilities, a water handling system, hygiene centers that include a shower and bathroom facilities, and a food preparation area.

Employees from the Public Health Department’s Inspection, Nursing, Epidemiology and Public Health Preparedness divisions, Hazardous Materials Unit and Administration were trained on how to assemble and equip the structure to respond to a public health emergency. This training included a full emergency simulation drill held in June at Middlesex County College in Edison.

Through up-to-date training and effective planning, the county can better prepare for health threats and other emergencies should they arise. I would like to thank the Public Health Department, along with our other state, county, and local safety partners for their continued efforts to be prepared and for their dedication to the health and safety of the residents of Middlesex County.

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