PRINCETON, NJ– The American Red Cross North Jersey Region is the recipient of the first-of-its-kind Next Generation Emergency Response Vehicle thanks to an anonymous donor.

The newly redesigned response vehicle is the result of a five-year process engaging volunteers, employees, partners and the design community to create a vehicle that is more cost efficient and provides a better experience for both disaster responders and the people they help.

“Emergency response vehicles are essential to Red Cross disaster relief operations. When disaster strikes, whether a hurricane, tornado or a home fire, Red Cross disaster responders climb into emergency response vehicles to travel to affected areas, to provide food, water, relief supplies and comfort to our neighbors in need,” said Mathieu Nelessen, regional CEO, American Red Cross North Jersey Region. “We are excited to be the first region in the country to utilize this new and more efficient vehicle and are grateful for the generosity of the donor who made this addition to our fleet possible.”

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The next generation ERV is less expensive to purchase, has reduced maintenance costs, has a longer life span and is more fuel efficient than its predecessor. The new design is more ergonomic for disaster relief workers, easier to maneuver in both rural and metropolitan areas, provides increased storage space for supplies and meals, has an increased passenger capacity and is adjustable to meet the needs of disasters large and small.

The vehicle’s modular features allows the Next Generation ERV to quickly transform so that disaster responders can serve thousands of meals a day after a large scale disaster, such as a hurricane, or meet with displaced families one-on-one following a home fire.

The Red Cross has more than 320 emergency response vehicles in the U.S. that get help to people in need after disasters. Over the next decade, the Red Cross expects to replace its aging fleet and potentially increase its current fleet of response vehicles while saving millions of dollars by switching to the more effective Next Generation ERV with reduced maintenance costs.

Continuing their support of Red Cross disaster relief, Toyota has extended the loan of 19 Toyota vehicles in the Red Cross fleet in New Jersey for another year.  

“The Toyota vehicles have become an integral part of our disaster relief operation,” said Steven Sarinelli, regional disaster officer, American Red Cross North Jersey Region. “Toyota’s generous contribution to our fleet helps ensure disaster responders have reliable transportation to get them to the scene of home fires and other disasters to provide comfort and support to families when they need it most.” 

Recognizing the need for vehicle support to move Red Cross resources and manpower during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Toyota loaned the organization 16 Toyota Priuses and threeToyota 4Runners in New Jersey to assist with relief and recovery operations and other disaster relief efforts including home fire response.

“Many of the hundreds of New Jersey Toyota team members were personally affected by Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene and experienced firsthand the tireless work of the Red Cross in our community. The need for the important work the Red Cross provides continues to this day," said Kevin Curran, Assistant General Manager for Toyota New York Region. “Toyota is proud to support their mission with our fleet of dependable and fuel efficient vehicles.”

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year in the United States and the vast majority of those are home fires. Throughout New Jersey, the Red Cross responded to 1,063 home fires last year, offering comfort to 1,680 families and meeting immediate needs such as shelter, food, clothing, referrals and mental health services as needed.

About the American Red Cross North Jersey Region 
The American Red Cross North Jersey Region provides programs and services throughout the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren, with a combined population of 5.7 million. The region trains and mobilizes more than 3,330 volunteers who support the delivery of services in the community. Last year, the Red Cross North Jersey Region responded to 494 local home fires, helping 1,130 displaced families; collected 25,420 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided 1,877 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained 60,441 individuals with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. Follow the North Jersey Region on Twitter @RedCrossNorthNJ.