LIVINGSTON, NJ — Without the 30 men and women who collectively respond to nearly 1,500 calls each year as active members of the Livingston Volunteer First Aid Squad (LFAS), unexpected incidents would have would have much different outcomes.
Since 1950, the LFAS has been instrumental in assisting with any and all emergency situations such as car accidents, reports of chest pain or stroke, athletic injuries and more.
Its 30 members are diverse, but all of them have two things in common: a passion for helping others in need of emergency medical care and a desire to give back to the community. According to LFAS President Patrick Ippolito, the members’ professions vary from business owners to bond brokers, dental hygienists to commercial realtors, pharmaceutical sales representative to school faculty and more.
“Being part of the team is rewarding and satisfying,” said Ippolito. “I love helping people, even if it’s a 2 a.m. call. I know that when we arrive on the scene, we can comfort and calm the person who is injured or ill. Often it’s someone I know from town and they are relieved to see a familiar face who’s there to treat them.”
Each LFAS member has a 12-hour shift from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every 10 days with a backup crew available in the event that the on-duty volunteers are at a simultaneous call. Adding that there is also a weekend schedule, Ippolito said that being on call is only a portion of the hours that these community members volunteer.
Members are recertified every three years, accumulating 100 hours of Emergency Medical Training (EMT) in order to keep up to date on the newest techniques for clearing airways, working on trauma, medical training and more. Members also attend long meetings on the first and third Wednesday of each month to discuss business and training, respectively, covering topics such as bleeding control and more.
In addition to being on call for emergencies, the LFAS also interacts with the community year-round by participating in popular events like the Memorial Day Parade, 4th of July festivities and National Night Out. The squad also teams up for open houses with the volunteer fire department, during which children are invited to explore the ambulances and fire trucks and observe demonstrations.
Coming up in June, the LFAS will participate in Livingston Summerfest at the Memorial Oval on June 9 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event invites residents of Livingston and surround communities to enjoy food trucks, a beer garden, live music, a fishing derby, pet adoption and other activities.
LFAS is also currently hosting a 50/50 raffle fundraiser. The winning raffle ticket will be drawn at the annual open house in October.
According to Ippolito, LFAS members receive a steady influx of thank you notes and are often honored by the township for the work they do.
Ippolito shared a standout gesture of gratitude from a community member in 2016 after the squad received a call in February about a person feeling ill.
“We arrived at the house and the wife ran out yelling, ‘He collapsed! He’s not breathing!’” said Ippolito. “We revived him. A few months later in May, we were marching down South Livingston Avenue in the Memorial Day parade and the man we had revived was sitting on his lawn with a big sign that read, ‘Thank you, First Aid Squad! Without you I wouldn’t be here!’"
The LFAS is always in need of more volunteers, Ippolito. To join, learn more or donate to the organization, click HERE.
All photos are courtesy of the Livingston First Aid Squad.