CAPSTONE: Emergency Service Unit in Jersey City

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By Nachalie Rodriguez —

Have you ever questioned who are the men and women that get sent out to assist in our communities and around the world when riots, natural disasters and anything that is out of the human control occur? The National Guard, which has been around for over three centuries is a main component as well as our local Emergency Service Unit (ESU) in Jersey City. The ESU started in February 10, 1931 and has provided service to the Jersey City Police Department and the community for eighty years. The ESU is a multi-talented unit that provides more than one service such as: FBI trained bomb squad, trained snipers, a SCUBA team and a K-9 unit to reinforce the bomb squad. They also have the most updated technology for body protection and heat sensing night vision devices. ESU is also equivalent with the Emergency Service Squad (ESS) and the Emergency Service Detail (ESD) which also respond to high risk scenes that occur outside of the areas of responding patrols.

ESU members train in-house with other local, state, federal and military specialized units and members of FEMA Urban Search & Rescue Team (USAR). FEMA’s mission is to support first responders and citizens and to help recover from natural disasters such as: hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, floods, fires, riots, acts of terrorism and any disaster without warning that has consequences.

Emergency Service Unit members receive an intense training course that requires one to be focus, detail oriented and savvy. Most ESU members have over five years of experience as an officer and must complete over three months of several trainings in different areas. They must learn how to respond to medical situations as EMT’s are required to do, fire suppression, water rescue, structural collapse rescue, free machinery and vehicle from entanglement, rope rescue, confined space, elevator rescue and trench rescue.

The Port Authority Police Emergency Services Unit also work with non-police PATH railroad employees who also respond to any PATH railroad emergencies and fires. The PATH also has a Port Authority utility truck which was converted as an Emergency Response Truck. This ESU team is specially trained in underground rescues, lifting railroad cars from trapped people and extrication of passengers from PATH. The destructive events that the ESU have handled in the past have been: Water rescues from the PATH system in 1992, Journal Square transportation center ceiling collapse, aviation crash in Newark and the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Jersey City is one of the most densely populated cities in the most densely populated state and residents are very fortunate to have an Emergency Service Unit team who are willing to put their life on the line to help save a life. Not only should this make Jersey Citians feel safe but acknowledge that in case of any riot or disaster that is out of human control there are civilians who are always looking out to serve, protect and defend their communities.