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.”
About Hackensack Meridian Health
Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. The network has 18 hospitals and more than 500 patient care locations, which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers, physician practice locations, and a fitness and wellness center. With more than 35,000 team members and 7,000 physicians, Hackensack Meridian Health is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy and committed to the health and well-being of communities throughout New Jersey.
The network’s notable distinctions include having more U.S. News-ranked hospitals than any other health system in New Jersey, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, 2022-23. Hackensack University Medical Center is nationally-ranked by U.S. News & World Report in four specialties, more than any other hospital in New Jersey. Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center, and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, are ranked #1 in the state and top 20 in the Mid-Atlantic Region by U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-23 Best Children’s Hospital Report. Additionally, their combined nephrology program ranks in the top 50 in the United States. To learn more, visit www.hackensackmeridianhealth.org.
about The New Jersey EMS Task Force
The NJ EMS Task Force is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that represents more than 250 career and volunteer EMS providers throughout the state, who are trained in various disciplines of emergency medical services to respond to large-scale man-made and natural disasters as well as planned events. The NJEMSTF was formed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as a way to better prepare New Jersey’s planning and responses to large-scale events. Today, through partnerships with local agencies, the NJEMSTF has specialized equipment and EMS providers strategically stationed throughout the state and ready to respond to any emergency.
Since being activated in March 2020, the NJEMSTF has been a key component of New Jersey’s pandemic response. During the pandemic NJEMSTF has evolved – and grown its mission. Most recently, the NJEMSTF has been responsible for creating a system and executing a plan to transfer COVID-19 vaccines throughout the state to ensure the doses are reaching people who need them. Already, 750,000 doses have been moved by the NJEMSTF. Members have also worked tirelessly to strategize and develop new ways of preparing EMS operations to respond to the evolving threats facing residents. Those threats include the ongoing pandemic, natural disasters such as hurricanes, flooding and wildfires, and potential man-made incidents at our ports, rail stations, transportation hubs, and anywhere there could be mass gatherings of people
Follow the NJEMSTF on Facebook, on Twitter and online at www.njemstf.org.