READINGTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (Hunterdon County) – Hunterdon County’s emergency response planning and preparations were on display when the County Board of Commissioners Director Susan J. Soloway had the opportunity to observe the county’s Public Safety Command Center bus and emergency response forces in action during the NJ Lottery Festival of Ballooning in Readington Township in July.
Soloway said, “I had the opportunity at the County Department of Public Safety’s command center at the Balloon Festival to observe operations and receive a briefing on the emergency service efforts from Readington Township Police Chief Joseph Greco and Director of Public Safety Brayden Fahey. The operation is very professional and successfully coordinates the Department’s Communications Division, OEM, the Sheriff’s Office and the Readington Police Department and rescue and fire squads.”
Director Fahey said that The Office of Emergency Management also supports the Readington Township Police by fulfilling numerous logistical requests for equipment, like camera towers, variable message boards, light towers, and communication equipment provided by New Jersey.
“Public Safety Director Fahey advises that by having incident dispatchers on site at the command center, it keeps the influx of festival related call volume off of the regular 911 center. Dispatchers are able to access all systems to facilitate emergency response from the field,” Soloway said.
The county’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) staff trains regularly for events, such as the New JErsey Lottery Festival of Ballooning, through online and in-person classes. OEM Staff also plan and take part in ‘Functional Exercises,’ which are a mock process of an emergency or large planned event for staff to gain valuable experience and work through several ‘what-if’ scenarios.
Director Soloway also had the opportunity to observe the GXP structure mapping program and said, “The mapping program that is used in our schools is also being engaged to create grid coordinates at the Solberg airport. The system provides a great ability for public safety personnel to respond to the exact location of incidents quickly. It is great to see the system in operation and was extremely instructional to gain a first-hand view of how the many different elements come together seamlessly, all to ensure a safe visit at the festival for attendees.”
For information on the county’s OEM and Public Safety Division, or to sign up for Citizen Alert to be notified if there is an emergency, visit www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/911.html.