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Chatham Emergency Squad Partnered with Police and Fire Departments for Mass Casualty Event

Credits: Tom Salvas
The teams practice extracting a patient from a damaged motor vehicle. Credits: Tom Salvas
The team practiced triage and treatment of patients. Credits: Tom Salvas

CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham Emergency Squad (CES) in conjunction with the Chatham Township Police Department and the Chatham Township Fire Department completed a day long training session and drill at 495 River Road late last month.

The focus of the training was Mass Casualty Incidents and First Responders’ roles in handling these emergency situations. A Mass Casualty Incident is the New Jersey Office of Emergency Services' (NJ-EMS) term for worst-case type scenarios, which require multiple ambulances and police, fire and rescue crews, such as a NJ Transit train derailment, a bus accident or a hazardous material leak.  

These situations involve extensive coordination, special procedures and additional training in order for the Squad, Police and Fire Departments to be ready to handle whatever situation may arise. The training included a hands on drill involving a scenario designed to practice procedures and skills. This years training scenario was a very significant multiple motor vehicle accident. 

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All three of Chatham's ambulances and multiple fire engines were involved in the drills, which also included tools and equipment specifically developed for large-scale emergency situations. Local Chatham residents volunteered their time to role-play as patients for the practice scenarios. Some of the role playing patients simulated being entrapped in the vehicles, giving the fire department the opportunity to practice their extraction techniques.

According to Tim Brown, CES’s Mass Casualty Incident Manager, "While we hope  these disastrous situations will never occur in Chatham, the possibility exists, and our job is to be ready and be prepared to respond."

Training sessions and drills like this is one of the ways your Chatham Emergency Squad continues to enhance their skills and preparedness for the worst-case scenarios. Last year the Squad practiced a series of drills on their own; this year CES was pleased to have the Police and Fire Departments join them. This partnership more accurately reflects how Chatham First Responders would handle a mass casualty event.

Tom Salvas, a professional photographer donated his time to photograph the event. 

The Chatham Emergency Squad is an all volunteer organization comprised of state certified EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians). CES is largely funded by donations. Please visit to donate or learn more.





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