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 swiftwater and ice rescue operations.
The team is a member of the National Cave Rescue Commission, with most of its members trained in the latest cave rescue techniques. The team is also one of the original members of the Search and Rescue Council of New Jersey, which helps coordinate the various rescue resources across the state.
The NJIRT's mission is to provide trained and equipped emergency response personnel for SAR situations to any requesting local, state or Federal Emergency Services Agency.
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.
NJIRT personnel are trained to meet or exceed requirements set forth by state and local agencies.
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 specialists.
The NJIRT 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.