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New Jersey EMS Task Force Talks Capabilities with Healthcare Coalitions

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

New Jersey EMS Task Force leaders have spent the past several weeks meeting with regional, statewide healthcare coalitions to connect with crucial emergency management and healthcare stakeholders and explain the organization's capabilities.

The meetings, which will continue in the coming months, feature NJ EMS Task Force team members sharing information about what the NJEMSTF can do and how the team can help them respond to large-scale natural and man-made disasters.

“These events were designed to increase awareness about the New Jersey EMS Task Force and to meet our colleagues face-to-face in a non-emergent setting,” said Mike Bascom, state leader and non-profit chairman of the NJ EMS TF.  “The NJ EMS Task Force is a full-scale response system, with highly trained members and equipment strategically stationed around the state, and we want everyone to know what we can do.”

Each presentation included members of the NJEMSTF team leading engaging discussions about what the organization does, what it’s prepared to do, and how it can help when an incident exceeds the local capabilities. Bascom, Jennifer McCarthy, board member and vice president of the NJEMSTF, Michael McCabe, State Leader,  and Chuck Uhl, H. Bucky Buchanan, and Steve Cicala, Jr, state planners, delivered the outreach program. The team also shared information with attendees about how members of the healthcare coalitions can activate the NJ EMS Task Force.

The NJ EMS Task Force was created after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In the weeks and months after the attacks, EMS leaders from around the state gathered to develop a plan for an organization to train for and coordinate a statewide EMS response to any disaster. Today, The New Jersey EMS Task Force represents 200 career and volunteer providers and is used as a model nationwide. The team has been critical to New Jersey’s COVID-19 pandemic response. And in 2023, the organization responded to several wildfires impacting thousands of acres of land and floods that required the evacuation of assisted living facilities while also developing and updating disaster response plans.

“Grants and donations completely fund our organization,” Bascom said. “These meetings help increase our visibility when funding decisions are being made by political leaders on the local, state, and national levels. We must be in that discussion to ensure the NJEMSTF remains mission-ready every day.”

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RICHARD HUFFSenior Correspondent

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