Leigh Cave Work Crew
From Left to Right: Chuck Konecke, Mitzi Kaiura, Dave Alcott,
Matt Langbein, Jeff Larsen, Carolyn Zangara, Kevin Psarianos (Photo by John
Leigh Cave Entrance After Repairs
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The New Jersey Initial Response Team (NJIRT) is a regional,
all volunteer organization based in Sussex
County, New Jersey.
It provides Search and Rescue (SAR) and specialized rescue resources to
local Emergency Services Agencies when requested.
The Team was organized in 1994 as a cave rescue/specialized rescue team and
incorporated and became a non-profit, tax-exempt organization in 1995.
During the years that followed, The NJIRT expanded its training base to include
all SAR functions, technical rope rescue, as well as swift water and ice
recently, in 2004, the Team added K9 Search functions, specifically general
air scent and cadaver capabilities, and has several search dogs in training
with their handlers.
mission is to provide trained and equipped emergency response personnel for
SAR situations to any requesting local, state or Federal Emergency Services
We can provide personnel trained for SAR, SAR management, technical rescue,
specialized rescue - including cave rescue, wilderness evacuation,
wilderness medical support, swift water and ice rescue support.
are trained to meet or exceed requirements set forth by state and local
Members begin an ongoing training program with classroom studies and field
exercises. Initially, they are part of a "call-out qualified"
group that supports the mission operation. As their training and experience
progresses, they become "Field Team Members" who work with others
accomplishing assigned tasks under the supervision of "Field Team
Leaders". Eventually, members attain sufficient skills to qualify as
"Field Team Leaders" and in turn, they supervise newer members
during their training and OJT.
Selected members receive additional training in SAR Management to assist
local agencies in conducting search operations.
Within the above groups are members who aspire toward the technical aspects
of SAR and rescue operations. They come from different backgrounds and
bring with them skills in low and high angle rescue, cave rescue, K9 Search
and other specialized rescue operations.
The NJIRT has a very diverse membership and training foundation. We have
personnel from fire departments/fire rescue and first aid squads as well as
instructors from fire academies and from the National Cave Rescue
Commission for cave rescue. Many members have first aid certifications
ranging from basic first aid/CPR through First Responder, to Emergency
Medical Technician/Wilderness Emergency Medical, and nurses and trauma
EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAMS
has a low and high angle technical rescue team trained to nationally
recognized standards. They are available to assist in any SAR or rescue
situation where recovery or patient evacuation requires specialized skills.
Portions of that Team are also nationally certified cave rescue specialists
who also respond to abandoned mine situations. The NJIRT is the only team
to have those qualifications within 200 miles of the tri-state area.