MONTCLAIR, NJ - In event of a gas emergency, Montclair officials should be well-prepared.
PSE&G and Montclair first responders conducted a collaborated gas emergency response exercise on Gates Avenue on Monday morning.
PSE&G staff, including PSE&G Senior Director of gas field operations Joe Martillotti, Montclair Police, Montclair Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services were all on scene to assist.
It is reported that PSE&G responds to an average of 260 calls per day involving potential gas leeks and about 800 leeks per year, which is often the result of damage by an excavator not marking the underground pipes.
This exercise is the first of seven planned for the year. Exercises such as this, as well as continued training, are considered to be of major importance by assisting first responders and public safety officials in being prepared in the event of an active situation.
"PSE&G regularly performs simulated gas leek exercises to test and evaluate how protocols, logistics and communication come together. When conducting a full scale drill, this enables us to prepare for worst case scenarios and learn how to ensure a coordinated response when this is not an exercise."
During the exercise, damage to an underground gas line was simulated, this simulation allowed first responders to practice a coordinated response with other first responders, collect information, provide feedback and receive feedback from the assessors and participants wearing specified vests of blue, white, yellow, red and green.
Lauren Ugori, media relations for PSE&G, had this to say, "This exercise today on a residential street near a nursing home provides the added opportunity of interacting with patients and staff from the facility and provides an opportunity to see how the coordinated efforts work in addressing the situation and keeping people and the area safe."
Town Manager Timothy Stafford, Montclair Fire Chief John Herrmann and Chief of Police Todd M. Conforti, were also at the scene.
"The drill today allows for our towns first responders to work with PSE&G in the event of a gas leak and it allows each group to evaluate what needs to be done to ensure preparedness in case of a real life event." said Stafford.
The drill, which started at 10am, ended at 11:30am.
As a safeguard, PSE&G recommends the following regarding gas leaks:
1. Quickly open windows and doors to ventilate.
2. Leave the building as quickly as possible and move well away from the structure, take all others with you. If you smell gas outside move well away from where you suspect the gas is leaking.
3. Call PSE&G immediately at 1800-880-PSE&G.