BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - May 17-23, 2020, is the 46th Annual National EMS Week. In 1974, President Gerald Ford authorized the first-ever National EMS Week to celebrate EMS practitioners and the vital work they do for our nation's communities. This year’s theme is Ready Today. Preparing for Tomorrow. With the COVID-19 crisis, this theme has become unprecedented. Our national EMS communities have persevered and remained resilient throughout the crisis by planning, adapting, and responding to coronavirus-related emergencies while still responding to everyday emergencies.  

The Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad (BHVRS) appreciates all the support, generosity, delicious meals, and treats that we have received from our community during this challenging period. We cannot express how much this means to us! To get through this unsettling time, we want to continue having the entire Berkeley Heights community work with us to stay safe during this pandemic.  We know we will get through this together! 

The five days of National EMS Week have a specific theme that represents the diverse nature of EMS:  

  • Monday - EMS Education Day
  • Tuesday - Safety Tuesday
  • Wednesday - EMS for Children Day
  • Thursday - Save-A-Life Day (CPR & Stop the Bleed)
  • Friday - EMS Recognition Day

Each day this week, the BHVRS will provide information related to the theme of the day and some best practices to follow to make sure Berkeley Heights is staying healthy and safe.

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Today, on EMS Education Day, let us ask, “Why Is It Still So Important to Practice Social Distancing?” Though there is much research currently ongoing to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and various therapeutics, social distancing is still the most effective tool we currently have and one that we should continue to use it to curb the spread of this deadly virus. 

Over the past several months, we have seen the great success of social distancing: There are less hospitalizations of patients with COVID-19, fewer patients need to go to the Intensive Care Units (ICUs) as a result of COVID-19, and there is a decline in the death rate due to COVID-19 in the New Jersey area. 

As the warmer weather approaches, social distancing is going to be challenging, but it is essential to maintain these safety measures for the health and wellbeing of our nation’s communities. Otherwise, the incidence of COVID-19 will increase, and the healthcare system will become overwhelmed. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has very helpful information on their website (https://www.cdc.gov). It is vital to continue to check their website for daily updates.

So, Berkeley Heights, please remember to:

  • Avoid social gatherings.
  • Stand at least 6 feet apart from others. How far is 6 feet? Think of it as 2-3 arm lengths or the length of 2 grocery carts. Why do we need to do this? You want to avoid getting close enough to someone that you could be exchanging air and droplets with them.
  • Wear facemasks. When you must make essential trips, such as to the grocery store or pharmacy, wear a face covering, like a surgical mask or bandana. This protects others FROM you (in case you have COVID-19 and are asymptomatic). 
  • Learn how to wear a facemask properly. The diagram below shows how to and how not to wear a face covering. The mask should cover from your nose down and under your chin.
  • Always use a clean mask or bandana. It is important not to continue to use the same one day after day. If you have a mask or bandana on, do not touch the front of it with your hands. If you do, remember not to rub your eyes or the rest of your face.
  • Foggy eyeglasses due to the mask or face covering? Check out this article to prevent this: https://www.npr.org/2020/05/08/853009325/how-to-prevent-glasses-from-fogging-up-while-wearing-a-mask. The tips really work, and BHVRS members have found them useful.
  • If you drive to the store, pharmacy, etc. and you are alone in your car, you do not need to wear a mask.
  • If you wear surgical gloves, do not reuse them. Do not wash them and then try to reuse them again. Toss them in the proper garbage receptacle.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (to ensure that it has been twenty seconds, sing “Happy Birthday” twice).

The BHVRS is staffed entirely by volunteers.  We never charge for any of our services. We are here for you 24 hours a day/7 day a week. We are funded, not by tax dollars, but nearly entirely by donations. 

We are recruiting for certified EMTs or those wishing to pursue this certification/skill, even during this unprecedented time. Contact us with your questions or for more information at 908-464-0013 or at Membership@bhvrs.org.