NEPTUNE, NJ More than a 100 members of the New Jersey EMS Task Force gathered for their annual meeting at Neptune High School to look ahead to big plans for 2010, and acknowledge some accomplishments from 2009.
Things are looking good for us, said EMS Task Force director John Grembowiec to start the event. It was a quiet year. And, we get active when things go bad.
The EMS Task Force was formed in 2003 and consists of approximately 250 EMS professionals from around the state who come together to provide support, medical and logistical help for large-scale man-made and natural disasters, as well as pre-planned events.
The meeting capped a year in which Task Force planners continued to refine and define various plans for dealing with disasters in the state, including an ongoing project involving the state s transit system.
And, while Grembowiec said it was a quiet year, the Task Force did activate a tropical storm plan in November in response to a storm that bore down on the southern part of the state. The organization also participated in the medical care during the Warped Tour concert at Monmouth Park over the summer.
For their efforts during the year, EMS Task force member Mike Bascom, the chair of the County OEM EMS Coordinators, received the EMS Administrator of the Year award from the New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services, Office of Emergency Medical Services. Also, EMS Task Force leaders Debra Bell, Steve Pawlak, and Henry Cortacans were presented with a special Director s Award for administering the NJ EMS Task Force and better preparing the State s EMS against terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and man-made events.
Task Force planner Steve Pawlak said the organization was in the process of moving its based of operations and cited several potential sites around the state.
Pawlak also said plans were underway for the EMS Task Force to participate in multiple large-scale drills, including a possible drill at the Trenton rail station, a possible spring drill in the Newark area, and a large-scale, multi-day event in New Jersey that will involved multiple organizations. The multi-day drill, Pawlak said, would test the EMS Task Force s ability to sustain itself for a few days.
Pawlak discussed the upcoming Statewide EMS Planning & Preparedness Summit set for April 15 and April 19 at the Middlesex County Fire Academy, an event designed to provide all NJ EMS responders with an overview of ongoing planning initiatives, increase project visibility, enhance situational awareness, and foster interagency coordination of current and future planning efforts. The New Jersey EMS Task Force, in partnership with the New Jersey County OEM EMS Coordinators, are the sponsors of the event.
This will be an excellent opportunity to get an in-depth idea of what we re responsible for, Pawlak said.
Elsewhere, members were updated on the EMS Task Force s involvement with the MACH project, which is a rolling, seven-bed emergency room, and the acquisition of upwards of 10 multi-purpose ambulance busses, all of which can be deployed for major and minor disasters.
When all is set up, we ll be able to move 200 people at one shot, Pawlak said of the ambulance busses, noting they will come in handy if the Task Force is asked to assist in the evacuation of a nursing home or hospital.
We have, Grembowiec told the members, some activities planned we hope will stimulate your continued [participation].