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NJ Office of Emergency Management
Colonel Rick Fuentes Major John Hunt
Superintendent, New Jersey State Police
State Director of Emergency Management
Deputy State Director of Emergency Management

Neal Buccino (609) 882-2000 ext. 2738 September 07, 2005



Today’s Deployment is First Stage of a Massive Effort to Create a Self-Sufficient Base of Operations for New Jersey Personnel to Help With Post-Katrina Recovery

(HAMILTON TOWNSHIP) – Directed by Acting Governor Richard J. Codey, the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management today sent 189 police and hazmat personnel to set up a base camp in New Orleans.

Including those deployed today, Codey plans to send additional personnel as requested, including firefighters, health care and EMS workers, over the next two weeks to help the State of Louisiana with its post-Katrina recovery effort.

Those who leave today will begin helping with the recovery effort sometime tomorrow morning. They will also begin setting up a self-sufficient base camp with the ability to generate power and provide water, food, shelter and a base of operations for the hundreds of New Jersey personnel who are expected to work in New Orleans during the coming months.

“Americans have always been there for one another.  After 9/11, help came to New Jersey from all over the country.  Today it’s the Gulf Coast that needs help and New Jersey will be there to return the favor,” said Codey.  “These individuals who are deploying today are meeting a desperate public service.   They are a display of New Jersey at its best and I thank all of them for their hard work and generosity.”

The 189 personnel will leave at about noon today from the New Jersey State Police Technology Complex in Hamilton.

They include:

  • A law enforcement task force of 153 officers from state, county and local departments, along with 55 police cruisers and support vehicles.
  • Five decontamination units comprised of 36 hazmat personnel from Essex, Union and Morris counties.
  • Additional personnel are already assembled, coordinated and awaiting deployment, as soon as the State of Louisiana formally accepts Codey’s offer to send them. They include:
  • A medical task force of 60 doctors, nurses and other medical specialists.
  • An EMS task force of 50 ambulances and 150 paramedics.

Directed by Codey, the Office of Emergency Management is offering to send a law enforcement task force of about 140 law enforcement officers to the State of Mississippi in the near future. The Office is also offering to send a task force of 100 additional firefighters to Louisiana.

To make these deployments possible the State Office of Emergency Management, led by State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes, Lieutenant Colonel William Malast and Major John Hunt, worked with groups representing the Department of Health and Senior Services, Department Transportation, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the State Fire Marshall, all 21 county offices of emergency management, all 21 county prosecutors and a host of other entities.

All deployments are being made under the provisions of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) mutual aid agreement between the states.

They organized critical resources for the massive effort including:

  • 10 car-carrying trucks to haul the police vehicles to Louisiana. The trucks, along with several tractor-trailers, water and fuel trucks, were provided by private companies.
  • Four NJ TRANSIT buses with eight operators.
  • Tents and water flown down by the New Jersey National Guard.
  • Shower and decontamination units provided by the hazmat task force.
  • Inoculations for tetanus and hepatitis B, for every person who is traveling to the affected area.
  • Medical supplies, radios and other critical equipment.

“Once again, New Jersey’s rescue and relief workers are stepping up to help those who are suffering and in need,” said Attorney General Peter C. Harvey. “We saw their courage and selflessness on 9/11, when terrorists struck at our doorstep.  This time they are responding to a natural disaster far away, but the dedication of our police, fire, military, rescue and medical personnel remains the same.”

Colonel Fuentes said, “Getting together some of these resources was easy, thanks to the cooperation with our state, county and local agencies. Getting others – like finding a company to provide us quickly with car-carrying trucks – was a bit of a challenge. But this is America. When our neighbors are in need, we mobilize everything to help them.”

Previous deployment already on the ground

On Saturday, Codey sent five water rescue teams comprised of 34 personnel from New Jersey Task Force One (the state’s multi-purpose search and rescue team) the New Jersey State Police, the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, and a mechanic from the State Department of Transportation.

Those teams arrived at Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Sunday afternoon, and are now operating in concert with the Louisiana State Police in New Orleans and the surrounding area. They have already been involved in life-saving missions.

Codey and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management are currently offering additional resources to the States of Louisiana and Mississippi, and will be mobilizing those resources over the coming days and weeks.

Codey urges New Jersey residents looking to help the citizens ravaged by Hurricane Katrina to do so in the following ways:

  • Monetary donations through the Red Cross at 1-800-HELP-NOW, via the web at www.redcross.org, or by mail to: American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington D.C. 20013. 
  • Find opportunities to donate blood or volunteer at www.redcross.org .
  • Donate money at the New York Giants next two home games where the Red Cross and Salvation Army will be taking collections.

To stay informed about disasters and emergencies in New Jersey via social media, follow the NJOEM on Twitter @ReadyNJ, "like" us on www.facebook.com/READYNEWJERSEY, or get email and text message alerts via www.Nixle.com or www.njalert.gov.