ROCHELLE PARK, N.J. -- When news came Thursday morning that a troubled incoming Lear jet was safely diverted from Teterboro to another airport, Rochelle Park Emergency Management Coordinator Pete Donatello smiled.
"We can only hope an event doesn’t happen," he wrote moments later, "but I am confident based on the participation and input from all who participated in our recent Air Crash Table Top Exercise that we will respond to this like we have responded to ALL major disasters in the past – with the utmost professionalism, dedication and focus on life safety."
More than 60 people attended the exercise led by Donatello a few weeks ago to discuss dealing with the response, recovery and mitigation of a plane crashing into Rochelle Park, which is less than four miles south of Teterboro Airport.
They included township police and firefighters, members of its EMS, DPW and CERT, as well as township administration and elected officials and various other responders and officials from neighboring municipalities.
During one part of the exercise, Rochelle Park authorities prepared and delivered a mock press conference to approximately 20 role-playing reporters.
Emergency services personnel also practiced and tested their capabilities and resources interacting with local, state and federal officials while responding to:
- several fires;
- hazardous materials;
- water supply and utility issues;
- mass casualties;
- transportation of victims to local hospitals;
- crowd control;
- security concerns.
They also tested their capabilities in providing logistical support to the forward command posts and the Emergency Operations Center located at fire headquarters on Lotz Lane.
Donatello praised the participants for their "dedication, knowledge and professionalism shown," as well as for their "commitment to protecting the lives and property of the residents of Rochelle Park."
ALSO SEE: A Lear jet headed to Teterboro diverted safely late Thursday morning to Stewart Airport in Orange County, NY, after a problem with the nose landing gear, authorities said.
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