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Andrew Pollara, Borough of Caldwell Fire Department Chief; Glenn Gates, Caldwell University Executive Director of Campus Safety and Security; Mark Guiliano, Coordinator for the Borough of Caldwell’s Office of Emergency Management; David Black, Captain, West Essex First Aid Squad and Jeff Sutherland Senior Night Lieutenant, West Essex First Aid Squad.

Caldwell, N.J., July 13, 2021 – The university campus was the site for a multi-agency emergency drill on June 25.  

The annual exercise was conducted by the Borough of Caldwell’s Office of Emergency Management along with the Borough of Caldwell Police and Fire Departments, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office and the West Essex First Aid Squad. 

Agencies responded to the drill as they would in a real situation. The incident commander was Mark Guiliano, coordinator for the Borough of Caldwell’s Office of Emergency Management. “We do this to learn together as agencies and to get better at helping each other, said Guiliano.” 

Borough Chief of Police James H. Bongiorno said they were grateful to Caldwell University President Matthew Whelan and Glenn Gates, executive director of campus safety and security, for the chance to train on campus. “Training is imperative for all of my officers and the different public safety disciplines as it prepares us for the different emergencies faced and helps speed up the processes as we have already worked together and trained for them.” Although every emergency is different and it’s not possible to train for every situation, said Bongiorno, “any training completed will always help push toward a successful and safe outcome.”  

Students including Sofia DePhillips volunteered to be victims. DePhillips has been a member of the Florham Park, New Jersey Memorial First Aid Squad for the past year and rides every Monday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is a great experience “to be there for people and to be needed,” said DePhillips, who hopes to enter the nursing program in the fall. “They trust you and that is a great feeling.” The drill gave her a different perspective from what she is used to as a first responder including “how a patient feels on a backboard or getting lifted” and how to be sensitive when receiving a patient at a hospital. 

The other Caldwell students who volunteered for the drill were Nicole Lopez, Victoria Santangelo and Pragya Sapkota. It was “important to see … it is not the same as a high school drill,” said Lopez. 

Keith Kyewalabye, a 2021 graduate, who has been volunteering with the West Essex First Aid Squad, also participated in the drill.   

Gates thanked the Caldwell Police Department, the Caldwell Volunteer Fire Department and the West Essex First Aid Squad for the services they provide to the campus. “The University has a strong relationship with the responders, and conducting emergency drills together strengthens our existing partnerships and capabilities.”

Bongiorno said his department appreciates the strong partnership with the University and looks forward to many more successful training events helping prepare their response in case of an emergency.