Governor Christie Sends EMS And State Police Assistance To Hurricane-Damaged Virgin Islands

Trenton, NJ – At the request of Virgin Islands leadership, Governor Chris Christie authorized New Jersey State Police troopers, Disaster Mental Health Counselors and members of the New Jersey EMS Task Force to depart for a response mission in the region hardest hit by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“Our continued thoughts and prayers are with the people of the Virgin Islands as they recover and rebuild their lives. New Jersey knows how a devastating hurricane can turn everyday life upside down,” Gov. Chris Christie said. “Our response teams train and plan for these types of scenarios on a regular basis and are well prepared to assist residents and fellow first responders already on the ground in helping to return some semblance of normalcy to the area.”

More than 30 members of the New Jersey EMS Task Force are leading a two-week mission requested by officials in the Virgin Islands that includes 25 New Jersey State Police troopers and four Disaster Mental Health Counselors within the Disaster and Terrorism Branch of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The team, along with all-terrain vehicles, box trucks and logistic supplies, began to deploy yesterday and will continue to fly out today. They will provide emergency medical services to the hardest hit areas, some of which no longer have working hospitals or other medical services.

Officials in the U.S. Virgin Islands requested assistance through the Emergency Management Assistant Compact (EMAC), a mutual aid agreement allowing states and territories to share resources in response to natural and manmade disasters. Through this agreement, the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management currently has emergency management experts from its Public Assistance Unit deployed to Florida to assess preliminary damage. Experts in donations management have also deployed to Florida and Texas from the departments of Treasury and Human Services. 

The New Jersey crews set up a base of operations and immediately helped local EMS teams that have been overwhelmed in the hurricanes’ aftermath. The NJ EMS Task Force team and mission partners are planning for a two-week mission, though the operation could be extended.

The NJ EMS Task Force was formed after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and consists of more than 200 career and volunteer EMS professionals that respond to naturally-occurring and human-caused disasters. The organization has been integral to the emergency responses for Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, wildfires, flooding in Bound Brook, a fire on the Seaside Heights boardwalk, and the crash of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River. The NJ EMS Task Force response to Superstorm Sandy has been used as a model for EMS organizations around the country to plan for and respond to major natural disasters. The group also provided EMS resources at planned events such as Super Bowl XLVIII, the New Jersey Marathon, the Warped Tour concerts, the New Jersey Balloon Festival, and Bamboozle.

Last month, Governor Chris Christie authorized 26 Security Forces Airmen from the 108th Wing, New Jersey National Guard, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. to leave for the Virgin Islands in support of Hurricane Irma relief efforts. The Airmen complement local law enforcement and have been assigned to provide security where the Federal Emergency Management Agency is staged. New Jersey Task Force One, the state’s Urban Search and Rescue Team, returned from back-to-back deployments in response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.


Press Contact:

Brian Murray

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