PARSIPPANY – The 200 Club of Morris County honored Par-Troy EMS at their 47th Annual Valor and Meritorious Awards Celebration on Thursday, April 25 held at the Birchwood Manor. Par-Troy EMS Brandon Nothstine, Par-Troy EMS Chief Dean Snook and Par-Troy EMS Witold Soszynski were honored for their participation in the 2018 Bus Crash on Route 80, Mount Olive.
Mount Olive Township Police Department, Netcong Borough Police Department, New Jersey State Police, Atlantic Ambulance Corporation, Budd Lake Fire Co. #1, Flanders Fire & Rescue Co. #1, Hackettstown Medical Center Emergency Department, Morris County Communications Division, Morris County Office of Emergency Management, Mount Olive Township, Office of the Fire Marshal, Par-Troy Emergency Medical Services, Roxbury Township Co. No. 2 Fire & EMS, Saint Clare’s Denville Hospital Emergency Room, Saint Clare’s Dover Hospital Emergency Room, Saint Clare’s Health EMS, Sameth Emergency Department at Morristown Medical Center Stanhope-Netcong and American Legion Ambulance Corps were all honored for their participation in the fully-loaded school bus crash on Route 80.
On Thursday, May 17, 2018 at approximately 10:20 a.m., numerous 911 calls started to flood both the Mount Olive Township Police Department’s Dispatch Center and the Morris County Communications Division. Frantic callers reported that a fully-loaded school bus of children had crashed and overturned on Interstate 80 in Mount Olive Township. Children and adult chaperones were reportedly injured with some in critical condition. The Mount Olive Township Police, EMS and Fire agencies inclusive of the Budd Lake Fire Co. #1, Flanders Fire & Rescue Co. #1 and the Mount Olive Township Office of the Fire Marshal, were immediately dispatched to the scene along with the New Jersey State Police. Simultaneously, Atlantic Ambulance Corporation, Saint Clare’s Health EMS and the Morris County Office of Emergency Management were immediately dispatched to the scene as well. The Morris County Communications Division quickly activated the Morris County Mass Casualty Assets which included the numerous departments being honored here this evening. What happened next was truly remarkable. Upon the arrival of the first units on-scene, the comprehensive scene size-up gave both dispatch centers and other response units enough information to immediately dispatch and ensure that we had enough ambulances and emergency response assets being requested to respond. The high level of responding assets was also achieved with assistance of our out-of-county partners in Sussex and Warren Counties who each sent ambulances to the scene as well. Within the first seven minutes, the Mount Olive Township Police Department along with the multiple fire and EMS agencies on scene, had the mangled and overturned bus cleared of all patients. The next significant challenge was the triage of 46 patients in a variety of medical conditions who were spread out along the grassy median and highway.
This challenge was accomplished through a multi-agency, multi-discipline response, inclusive of two hospital-based response teams, to what many described as a “worst-day scenario.” Although the team had two patients who were deceased on-scene, the injuries which were sustained to both patients were so significant that no action by EMS or hospital personnel could have changed the tragic outcome.
Our thoughts and prayers remain with the deceased victims and their families as well as others impacted by this overall incident. The triage and transportation process for the injured patients was fundamental to the ultimate success of the patients’ outcomes. The variety of medical conditions amongst the patients included some with significant and critical injuries who needed rapid transport to a trauma hospital. Some patients ultimately ended up crashing/coding when they entered the Emergency Room at local hospitals and required immediate lifesaving interventions. Additional on-scene or transport time would have proven problematic for these positive patient outcomes. In addition, many children were continually being re-assessed during the triage phase at the scene of the incident and during transport, with noted decompensation/status changes occurring during reassessment. Changes in patient status ultimately changed hospital destinations as well as the mode of transportation for some qf the injured. Everyone that was treated and transported is alive today because of an aggressive triage and reassessment process and a “complete system of care.” The successful outcomes were not the result of any one agency or any one individual. This was the result of ONE unified team of professionals from dispatch to police, EMS, fire, hospital-based BLS/ALS systems, emergency room staff, trauma teams, surgical staff, countless medical staff/departments, hospital patient liaison teams, human services and mental health teams, and the countless other professionals who played a part in the response as well as the recovery.
“May 17, 2018 was a difficult day for many, but was also a proud day for our Morris County EMS, Police, Fire, OEM, and the overall patient care continuum from dispatch, to the street, and ultimately to the hospital. This Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) was managed in a professional and exemplary manner, and every responder stepped up to the plate to do what was needed in order to save lives. We often say that we train for the day that we hope never happens, but in this case, it happened, and all of the responders involved in this incident should be extremely proud of the role they played, as well as the positive outcome,” said Morris County Sheriff James Gannon.
Also honored was Madison Patrolman Christopher Burans, Patrolman Travis Daniel and Sergeant James C. Cavezza for their participation in saving a juvenile female was threatening to jump off of the Union Hill Road train bridge on August 13, 2018. Sergeant James Cavezza, Patrolman Christopher Burans and Patrolman Travis Daniel responded to find the girl standing on the ledge of the bridge, approximately 30-40 feet above the train tracks, where high voltage power lines were directly below her. These officers placed themselves in great danger of falling from the bridge to the high voltage wires below. Fortunately, their actions resulted in the girl receiving the treatment she desperately needed, and she was reunited with her family.
Also honored that evening was Lieutenant Joseph Napoletano, Kinnelon Police Department, for saving a man and dog who had fallen through the ice on Butler Reservoir on February 21, 2018.
Denville Police Officer Michael Ambrose, Police Officer Shawn Frawley, Sergeant Bruce McCarter and Chief Christopher Wagner was honored for saving two victims and a dog that had fallen through ice in Cedar Lake on February 15, 2018.
New Jersey State Police Trooper Rodrigo Coelho, T.E.A.M.S. North Unit and Tropper Jordan Siegel, Hazardous Materials Response Unit were honored for removing the driver of a Jeep involved in a two-car motor vehicle crash on Interstate 80 in Rockaway Township. On October 19, 2018 the crash involved Jeep which had been driven under the rear of a tractor trailer and was engulfed in flames with the driver trapped inside.