Sussex County Red Cross responds to plane crash

| 22 Feb 2012 | 07:52

NEWTON — While US Airways Flight 1549 was miraculously landing in the Hudson River, Sussex County Chapter American Red Cross volunteer Sherry Clain was attending a meeting with other Red Cross Disaster Services leaders from throughout New Jersey in Tinton Falls. The meeting was interrupted by news of the event. The group went into action, setting up a command center to coordinate the New Jersey response. Clain contacted the Sussex County Chapter to send out an emergency e-mail to all disaster response volunteers requesting them to be on stand-by in the event a shelter needed to be opened to assist passengers and their families. Within 15 minutes, 12 Sussex County Disaster Services volunteers responded and were put on alert, ready to be deployed to the scene if necessary. Paul Spergel, a mental health professional and trained Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Volunteer from Budd Lake, was dispatched immediately. His private practice patients were rescheduled to allow him to be there for people who had just lived through a harrowing experience. Mental health work is done by licensed psychologists and psychiatrists who volunteer to be on call for the Red Cross. Spergel provided support to seven passengers in the aftermath of the crash, in some cases, spending more than an hour one-on-one. Spergel said his greatest concern is the post traumatic stress the passengers of this flight will experience and strongly recommends that anyone associated with this event seek the assistance of a professional to talk about their experience.