As a former EMT, paramedic, and volunteer firefighter I support implementing the LOSAP program for our volunteers of the BHVRS. While I was an EMT/firefighter in Watchung, NJ I did an extensive amount of research into programs that fundamentally mimic the goals of LOSAP. While I don’t believe LOSAP is a mechanism to attract new members it is certainly a vehicle to give back to those who volunteer extensive amounts of their personal family time and often put their own safety in jeopardy to save the lives of our family members, friends and neighbors.
During my nearly two decades of time as an EMT/firefighter/paramedic, I had to spend a significant amount of money for out-of-pocket expenses such as gas and clothing. But that is not the end, I also had to spend money on travel for training. Often, the best quality classes are not local and necessitate driving (and in some cases flying) long distances to attend. As an example, while an EMT serving the Watchung Rescue Squad, I had to fund the cost of the overnight stays at hotels and meal costs. I remember stuffing 10 EMT’s into one hotel room so our costs were kept to a minimum.
Berkeley Heights is blessed to have people that want to spend their time, away from their families, to be there for us when we need them. Our emergency services volunteers leave their families at dinner time, miss their kids sports games, are up in the middle of the night and sometimes all night, yet they go to work the next day like you and I. There are private companies that supply paid EMT’s for the same work performed by our volunteers. LOSAP is a drop in the bucket for the FREE, HIGH QUALITY and TIME CONSUMING service that our friends and neighbors provide.