New Robot Assists Somerset County Emergency Response Team
HILLSBOROUGH – A demonstration of the newest member of the Somerset County Emergency Response Team (SCERT) - a Caliber T5 Robot - was recently held at the county Emergency Services Training Academy.
The purpose of the T5 Robot is to protect emergency responders during a crisis situation. Cameras and two-way communication equipment provide operators with situational information and help them direct use of the robotic arm.
During the demonstration, the robot climbed and descended a steep set of stairs. It also punctured a tire, smashed a car window and carried objects, including a phone unit, which can be used during hostage negotiations.
The robot’s arm is mounted on a 360-degree rotating turret that offers five degrees of movement at the shoulder, elbow, wrist and claw joints. Measuring 17.25” wide, the robot can access a variety of narrow spaces, open doors, grip objects and use hook and line attachments.
SCERT operators can utilize the robot in a variety of scenarios, including the investigation of hazardous materials and explosive devices. State Homeland Security Program funding of over $29,000 was used to purchase the robot, which cost a little over $89,000.
Somerset County Emergency Response Teams (SCERT) include police officers from the Prosecutor’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and municipal departments. They are divided into four sub units: the S.W.A.T. Team, Crisis Negotiation Team, the Emergency Medical Team from Somerset Medical Center and the Dive-Rescue Unit. When a call for assistance is received, SCERT units can be mobilized and on scene within 45 minutes, any time of day or night, seven days a week. During the past 16 years, SCERT members have responded to more than 100 incidents.
The Somerset County Hazardous Materials Response Team, which is coordinated by the Office of Emergency Management, is comprised of volunteers who are required to complete mandated training and to maintain proficiency by participating in annual training sessions and drills. HAZ-MAT personnel respond to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive releases. The team is responsible for technical guidance, hazard mitigation, victim rescue, and the control and capture of hazardous materials.