New Jersey EMS Task Force Builds 50-Bed Field Hospital at Hackensack Meridian Old Bridge Medical Center to Prepare for Natural Disasters
Hackensack Meridian Health is the first health network in New Jersey to participate in a full-scale disaster exercise with the New Jersey EMS Task Force
(Old Bridge, NJ - October 24, 2022) - Hackensack Meridian Old Bridge Medical Center and the New Jersey EMS Task Force held a full-scale emergency response exercise. The exercise, which involved the creation of a 50-bed field hospital, was designed to ensure continuity of care and continued hospital operations in the event of a catastrophic hurricane.
“Our patients depend on us around the clock for high-quality, accessible, and compassionate healthcare, particularly in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Our strong relationships with EMS, law enforcement, and other first responders allow us to host drills and exercises that help ensure we’ll always be ready for our patients,” said Kenneth R. Haber, vice president, Environmental Health & Safety, Team Member Health and Safety, Hackensack Meridian Health.
“We are grateful for the collaboration, expertise, and dedication of the New Jersey EMS Task Force in conducting this joint exercise at our hospital. 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,” said Patricia Carroll, president, chief hospital executive.
This year's drill utilized the statewide capabilities available to Hackensack Meridian Health if there were a catastrophic infrastructure failure at one of its facilities. This includes a 50-bed field hospital, medical ambulance buses and oxygen generation trucks displayed with continuous orientation sessions at Old Bridge Medical Center that covers hospitals, ambulatory, partner companies and long-term care.
“Exercises such as this provide us with the opportunity to test and demonstrate our capability to deploy and staff elements of our field hospital systems and to operate in a self-sufficient manner,” said Mike Bascom, state leader/non-profit chairman of the NJ EMS Task Force. “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. 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.”