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Mount Olive (NJ) Emergency Services Practice Emergency Tactics Together

Date: 2014-09-12
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With violence disrupting schools, workplaces, theaters and other public gatherings, Mount Olive (NJ) police, emergency medical services, and fire personnel got together last week to share ideas and begin preparing for a day they hope will never come.

“This is the first time we’ve trained together this way,” Police Chief Mark Spitzer told the group, adding that he hopes there will be more training.

“You’ll likely have more questions than answers at the end of the day,” Mount Olive Police Capt. Steve Beecher told the gathering. “But this is how the conversation begins.”

The group met first with trainers from the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, who reviewed statistics related to violence in public places and talked about general response concepts. Then police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians talked about handling major incidents together. Guided by Mount Olive Police instructors, firefighters and EMS providers got a glimpse of how police officers train and began to learn where they’ll fit into a response.


The Communications Component

The Mount Olive agencies also recognized that communications are essential and often the first thing to breakdown in a critical incident.   “Operations with cement and steel structures sometimes pose challenges,” said Captain Beecher.  “Our Communications Division has worked hard to make this a non-issue for us. Our video and radio functions worked well. Dispatch was able to see what was going on and radio communications were not lost throughout the exercise.”

Including Communications Officers in the training while utilizing the equipment at the desk enhances Communication Officer preparedness. Training develops Communications Officer confidence in their abilities and the capabilities of their operating systems. Practicals help first responders develop confidence in their dispatchers and an understanding of how potentially overwhelming an event can be. Communications Officers also play an important  role in identifying equipment or communications shortfalls and assisting in their mitigation.  “The Communications Center receives first notice of a problem and are involved in a critical incident from the very beginning to the end,” Beecher said. “Including the Communications Officers in training and incident preparedness is essential to an optimum response.”


Dividends of Training Together

Members of the Budd Lake Fire Company, the Budd Lake First Aid Squad and the Flanders Fire Company #1 and Rescue Squad joined local police officers at the event.

“It’s important that we learn from each other so we can work together if we ever have a major event in town,” said Flanders Fire Chief Frank Zeller. “If we don’t know how to work with each other, we’ll just be in each other’s way and be more of a problem than a help.”

“It certainly gets you thinking about training, equipment and preparation,” said Flanders EMS Capt. Nicole Shields.

“We have a lot to learn from each other,” said Budd Lake Fire Chief Robert Sheard. “Simple things like the words we use to describe a building or an action can be different from organization to organization.”

“It’s interesting that we have the same ultimate goals, but each organization must handle a different facet of the challenges we’ll face to accomplish those goals,” added Cassandra Issler, captain of Budd Lake First Aid Squad.

Three of the agencies have their own websites –

with more information about each organization.

- People, Places & Things/




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