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CAPE MAY, N.J. – Local, state and federal emergency and law enforcement crews held a hazardous material response exercise on Coast Guard Training Center Cape May Sept. 12 at 10 a.m.
The exercise tested the capability of numerous local, state and federal emergency response personnel during a simulated car accident on New Jersey’s Garden State Parkway. The Coast Guard training center’s flight line acted as the New Jersey thoroughfare and was marked with a simulated car accident, which resulted in a simulated hazardous material release.
“This was an excellent opportunity for local, state and federal emergency response partners to work together and hone our skills as responders,” said Mr. Chris Walters, the chief of the Coast Guard Training Center Cape May Fire Department. “The exercise scenario required us to come together as a team to mitigate any potential risk to the community.”
The scenario required hazardous material crews to manage and respond to multiple hazardous threats simultaneously including a smoking truck with chemicals aboard, a passenger vehicle with radiological materials aboard and a victim trapped in a confined space. Personnel from the Cape May County Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Emergency Task Force coordinated the response with dozens of firefighters, emergency crews and law enforcement personnel.
“These exercises greatly improve our ability to respond to actual threats in our community,” said Mr. Anthony Robinson, direction of the Cape May County CBRNE Task Force. “That means a safer community for the people that we serve.”
Hazardous material crews from Ocean County were evaluating the response effort by the emergency team in the exercise. According to Robinson, Ocean, Atlantic, Monmouth, and Cape May Counties coordinate hazardous material response efforts on a regular basis. That coordination within South Jersey includes state and federal entities like the Coast Guard, which has 15 personnel qualified for hazardous material response aboard Training Center Cape May and in the surrounding community.