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Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center Participates in Gotham Shield 2017
Story Number is : 050117114
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Hackensack University Medical Center

Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, part of New Jersey’s most comprehensive and integrated health network, participated in Gotham Shield 2017 on Wednesday, April 26. Gotham Shield is an exercise on the federal, state and local levels to ensure emergency preparedness and coordination in the event of an Improvised Nuclear Device (IND) attack in northern New Jersey.

“Our team at Hackensack University Medical Center did a great job coordinating with state and local officials in response to Gotham Shield 2017,” said Ihor S. Sawczuk, M.D., president of Hackensack University Medical Center. “Ensuring our team members respond effectively in emergency situations is important to the safety of our patients and team members. Our participation in Gotham Shield and similar exercises throughout the year will help strengthen our response efforts and make sure we are ready for any situation.”

The purpose of Gotham Shield 2017 is to evaluate the response, recovery and coordination on the federal, state and local levels to an IND in the New York metropolitan area. Exercises at various sites in the area have been conducted throughout the week. As a hospital located within the Urban Areas Securities Initiative (UASI) area – which consists of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic and Union counties, as well as the cities of Jersey City and Newark – Hackensack University Medical Center was asked to participate in the exercise.

“Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center is proud to participate in Gotham Shield 2017 to ensure readiness in an emergency situation,” said Doug Finefrock, D.O., vice-chair, Emergency Trauma Center at Hackensack University Medical Center. “Our team members worked successfully with state and local officials in real-life exercises to execute our emergency operation plan. We will continue to improve our response plan to ensure the health and safety of our patients and team members in reaction to a nuclear event or other emergency situation.”

In partnership with the Hackensack Fire Department and other relevant agencies, Hackensack University Medical Center activated its emergency operation plan upon commencement of the exercise and set up a full decontamination area to practice mass decontamination procedures. Approximately 55 students from Hackensack High School and Bergen Academies in Hackensack acted as “patients” in the drill to give the exercise a real-life feeling for team members. In addition, Hackensack University Medical Center established an incident management team and incident command system in preparation for the exercise. Participants gave feedback about the effectiveness of the drill and how response and coordination measures can be improved upon in future situations. Hackensack University Medical Center remained fully operational during the exercise.

“Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center team members prepared for the Gotham Shield 2017 exercise and other emergency situations through rigorous trainings,” said Gary Del Moro, emergency preparedness manager of Hackensack University Medical Center. “Gotham Shield 2017 showed us that Hackensack University Medical Center is well-prepared to respond to an emergency situation such as a nuclear event. Participating in this exercise gives us an opportunity to test our emergency operation plan. It also gives us valuable insight into areas that may need improvement so that we can then implement those improvements and enhance our plan.”

Gotham Shield is one of many emergency preparedness exercises Hackensack University Medical Center conducts year-round to test systems and emergency preparedness. Hackensack University Medical Center team members have received comprehensive training throughout the years in preparation for this exercise and other types of emergency situations.



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