The New Jersey Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Task Force will receive a $650,000 grant from the state Department of Health to hire regional EMS coordinators to help prepare for and respond to mass casualty incidents.
In July 2019, the Department awarded the New Jersey Hospital Association a $3.1 million grant to administer a Hospital Preparedness Program that includes four regional health care coalitions. This grant to the New Jersey EMS Task Force — through a cooperative agreement with the Department’s Office of Disaster Resilience — will begin on July 1, 2020 and further strengthen, enhance and integrate the state’s healthcare and public health preparedness activities through the Hospital Preparedness Program.
“The EMS Task Force has responded to numerous emergencies, disasters and pre-planned events. New Jersey is fortunate to have such a robust system of medical ambulance buses, mass care response units, specialized medical tents and mobile healthcare clinicians who are trained in disaster and medical operations,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. “This funding will ensure continued availability of specialized resources and highly-trained EMS experts for years to come.”
The goal of health care coalitions is to foster enhanced collaboration among health care organizations whose work during disasters and emergencies may exceed the day-to-day capacity and capability of individual health care and emergency response systems. The regional coalitions work with healthcare and public health stakeholders and serve as experts in providing assistance and guidance to planning efforts in each of the four regional health care coalitions. They will also provide direct support to county and local emergency management officials to coordinate EMS deployments during large-scale incidents and pre-planned events such as Super Bowls and large concerts.
“The Department’s Hospital Preparedness Program informs and coordinates healthcare and public health preparedness efforts across the state,” said Christopher Neuwirth, Assistant Commissioner of the Department’s Division of Public Health Infrastructure, Laboratories and Emergency Preparedness (PHILEP). “It builds, promotes and strengthens resilience across all healthcare and public health stakeholders in a strategic and highly-coordinated way. The EMS Task Force plays a vital role in managing large-scale, mass casualty incidents in order to protect our healthcare systems during disasters.”
“The NJ EMS Task Force rose out of the ashes of 9/11 and remains an integral partner in our state’s ability to respond to mass emergencies and to protect the health of the public. I am grateful to Commissioner Persichilli, Assistant Commissioner Neuwirth and Governor Murphy for their efforts to ensure the NJ EMS Task Force is equipped with the resources necessary to coordinate their efforts,” said Senator Joe Vitale, Chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. “Under the leadership of Mike Bascom, I am confident that the NJ EMS Task Force will continue to fulfill their important role in our state’s emergency preparedness and response efforts.”
“This grant, and the agreed upon structure of the interaction between the EMS Task Force and Office of Disaster Resilience within the new regional coalition framework, is a huge breakthrough and improvement in New Jersey’s already robust emergency response system. I’m thrilled with the Department’s open-minded response to concerns and input of the Task Force,” Senator Declan O’Scanlon said. “Monmouth County has some of the best emergency operations in the state due to the work of people like Sheriff Shaun Golden and EMS Coordinator Mike Bascom. I’ve been grateful for their input throughout this process. We hope for the best and prepare for the worst—overall response, and response coordination, will be significantly improved with these actions and ultimately, lives will be saved as a result.”