New Jersey’s response to Hurricane Sandy was unprecedented in that this disaster affected the entire state and EMS community.
Terry Clancy, PhD, NREMT-P, covered this topic in depth at her EMS Today session, “Hurricane Sandy and Its Impact on EMS Responders.”
Clancy noted that New Jersey has prepared for years to respond to tropical storms and hurricanes, however, nothing could have prepared the state to respond to not only the community, but to its own infrastructure. Many EMS agencies lost their buildings, equipment and apparatus, which rendered their ability to respond to 911 emergencies.
Overall, the EMS response to Superstorm Sandy showcased the high level of cooperation and teamwork among local/county/state EMS agencies with inter and intra state partners.
Although, challenges and issues arose during this event, the leadership of the various New Jersey agencies and out of state partners were able to overcome obstacles and provide needed emergency services in a timely manner to the citizens of this state.
The key points Clancy covered were as follows:
- Pre-established relationships, integrated planning and training across all disciplines results in a more effective response to a disaster.
- Activating the Emergency Medical Assistance Compact early ensures adequate resources will arrive when you need them.
- Establish interstate relationships before a disaster occurs.
- Evacuation of healthcare facilities should take place prior to an anticipated disaster.
- Incident management assistance should be established early and continue until operations cease.
- Establish a plan, exercise your plan and improve your plan.
For more from the 2013 EMS Today Conference and Expo, visit http://www.jems.com/tags/ems-today/.