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Ready for a Mass Casualty Crisis

BAYONNE, N.J. -- More than 100 emergency workers and politicians from across the state gathered Thursday at the Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne to celebrate their new emergency response plan for northern New Jersey.

The master plan - called the EMS Annex - was 18 months in the making and provides a coordinated state response to large-scale emergencies.

Over 50 representatives from various local and federal agencies endorsed the 455-page document aboard Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas cruise ship.

The group was served lunch and taken to the deck of the ship, where the representatives could peer down at the newly created emergency response unit, which includes a helicopter, a mobile hospital unit, and over 20 specialized emergency vehicles.

H. Mickey McCabe, coordinator of the Hudson County Office of Emergency Management, said the plan was a "tremendous undertaking."

"It took a lot of coordination, but I believe we are now prepared for a mass casualty situation anywhere in north New Jersey," McCabe said.

"We can treat a large number of patients at the scene with the mobile hospital, fly them out by helicopter, and get them the care they need in the shortest amount of time."

More than 25 facilities in northern New Jersey, ranging from the IMTT Complex in Bayonne to the George Washington Bridge, are classified as "vulnerable" by the state's Office of Homeland Security.

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