STEVENSVILLE, Md. – The New Jersey Metro USAR Strike Team this week held an exercise simulating a terrorist attack of a metropolitan tunnel. PEAKE supported the event by providing real-time situational awareness via rapidly deployable video solution, AgileMesh.
The scenario of the exercise was an all-hands drill occurring in a New Jersey tunnel during rush hour where terrorists have set off an explosive device (IED), trapping victims and creating chaos. Members of the Metro Strike Team include nine fire departments (Bayonne, Elizabeth, Hackensack, Hoboken, Jersey City, Morristown, Millburn, Newark, Paterson, North Hudson), New Jersey Transit, and the Port Authority’s of New York and New Jersey. A 200’ mock tunnel was built and utilized for the event that simulated the terrorist attack. Firefighters had to locate victims, clear debris and obstructions, and perform rescue operations.
Tactical video solution Agile Mesh was utilized throughout the event to aid in real-time situational awareness for command staff and the exercise controllers. Rapidly deployable cameras were located at several locations throughout the “disaster area” and video feeds were transmitted real-time via the IP-based mesh network, providing USAR command, operations, and dispatch teams reliable video and actionable information on scene. PEAKE engineers were on site providing technical support throughout the event.
“The tactical video solution deployed throughout the exercise provided USAR operations teams with a unique set of ‘eyes’,” stated Newark Fire Department Deputy Chief Rich Zieser “Cameras were deployed strategically around the incident area giving the operational teams another perspective in their rescue mission. The ease of use and extent of the ability of the solution is an enormous asset to USAR teams especially throughout a disastrous event where another set of eyes could mean another life saved.”
From a dispatch perspective, the cameras were used as a way for dispatchers to provide active USAR Teams with more relevant information and resources. “You get to see everything that is happening. You get to see what the firefighters are doing, how they are supporting the walls and cutting pieces away so they can find the victims,” stated Elizabeth Fire Department dispatcher Lisa Repreza. “We might be able to help them if something additional happens and no one is in that area at least we can tell them that they have something else going on.”
The Metro USAR Strike Team consists of agencies from the federal Urban Area Security Initiative’s North Jersey region, which was created after 9/11 to unite emergency response agencies by region in case of a major disaster.
This UASI region’s major responsibility is to enhance the security of New Jersey’s transportation infrastructure, including the George Washington Bridge, the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, the Ports of Elizabeth and Newark, the New Jersey Turnpike/Interstate 95 and Garden State Parkway, Newark Penn Station, and the Newark Liberty International Airport. The exercise has been a mandatory drill for the past five years and is meant to fine tune the participating agencies rescue skills and operation.
PEAKE is a technology solutions provider specializing in the design, development and implementation of IP-based emergency communications. PEAKE provides turnkey solutions in voice, video and data for first responders, disaster recovery and continuity of operations. www.peake.com