First Responders

Keeping BMS safe

March 15, 2021
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ristol Myers Squibb’s first responders volunteer their time and talents to keep their colleagues and communities safe. Many do it because it is in their DNA to volunteer; for others, it’s to help their colleagues in their time of need. And for all, it’s a way to give back.

The responders are people with specialized training who are the first to arrive and provide assistance at the scene of an emergency, such as a fire, accident, natural disaster, chemical spill or act of terrorism. These include hazardous materials (haz mat) technicians, emergency medical technicians (EMT's) and firefighters. 

Many of the BMS first responders are members of the Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) or Research organizations, according to John Welling, director, EHS & Emergency Services, Global Facilities and Engineering.

The team is multi-disciplined and well-trained. Many of the BMS responders are also firefighters in the communities where they live, and two are on New Jersey’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue Team.

The BMS responders may be one, two or all three of the following: trained State of New Jersey firefighters, with 240 hours of initial training plus annual live burn certification; Emergency Medical Technicians, who require 280 hours initial training plus 48 hours of refresher training every three years; or Hazardous Materials Technicians, with 40 hours initial training plus eight hours of annual refresher. Most of the responders attend the initial training on their own time in the evenings and on weekends, while refresher training is completed at BMS sites.

According to Welling, the numbers and qualifications of first responders vary by site. Most of the BMS first responders are in New Jersey, with the main sites New Brunswick and Lawrenceville, where there are approximately 20-25 responders at each location.

The New Brunswick facility is equipped with a 2007 Horton Medium Duty Ambulance; a 2007 Pierce Foam Pumper with 65’ Snozzle; a 2021 Pierce Squad Pumper, and a 2001 Mass Decontamination Trailer. The Lawrenceville campus is home to a 2006 Pierce Haz Mat/Rescue Truck; a 2020 Horton Ambulance, and a 2019 John Deere 4 x 6.

In 2020, BMS first response teams responded to a total of 748 calls for assistance, a decrease of 23% from 2019 due to lower site occupancies because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Welling also pointed out the generous equipment and community grants made by BMS in 2020 to the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad; the West Windsor Volunteer Fire Company; the Hightstown Engine Company; the Pennington Fire Company and the Summit Police Athletic League.

BMS responders provide medical services each year for the New Jersey Special Olympics State Games at The College of New Jersey; the St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center Safety Day, and the Hopewell Valley Emergency Services Open House. In addition, the responders hold education sessions at the Child Development Centers at the various facilities, Bring Your Child to Work Day, CPR/First Aid training for employees, hands-on fire extinguisher training, and more.

Welling believes that the response teams are ambassadors for our company, with “our teams responding to emergencies off campus, and providing mutual aid support to the surrounding communities,” he said. “And our apparatus are billboards for our company, proudly showing our new corporate branding.”