Hackensack Meridian Health put its new brand campaign motto, “We’re Ready,” into action recently with a full-scale emergency response exercise.
The training was designed to prepare teams from Hackensack Meridian Old Bridge Medical Center and the New Jersey EMS Task Force in the event of a catastrophic hurricane.
The drill used the statewide capabilities available to Hackensack Meridian Health if there were an infrastructure failure at one of its facilities, the system explained, including a 50-bed field hospital, medical ambulance buses and oxygen generation trucks.
“We are grateful for the collaboration, expertise, and dedication of the New Jersey EMS Task Force in conducting this joint exercise at our hospital,” Patricia Carroll, chief hospital executive for Old Bridge Medical Center and Raritan Bay Medical Center, said in a statement.
“As we near the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, and deal with the aftermath of more recent Hurricanes Ida and Ian, it’s never been more important to conduct these exercises and drills,” Carroll continued.
Mike Bascom, state leader and nonprofit chairman of the NJ EMS Task Force, stressed the importance of these types of exercises.
“As recently seen in Florida after Hurricane Ida, meeting medical needs during a disaster, without power, with limited access to supplies and food, and when local resources are taxed, is a critical element to rapid recovery for the community,” Bascom said.
Bascom continued, “The NJ EMS Task Force was developed to provide the State with the capability to support medical surge for hospitals and to assure that EMS has the resources necessary to respond to large scale incidents, large, planned events, and disasters.”
The NJ EMS Task Force is a nonprofit organization that represents more than 250 career and volunteer EMS providers throughout the state. The organization was formed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a way to better prepare New Jersey’s responses to large-scale events. The task force’s recent accomplishments include creating and executing a plan to transfer COVID-19 vaccines throughout the state.
Hackensack Meridian Health is the largest health care network in New Jersey.