The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad, the oldest volunteer squad in Union County, will be celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. Formed on March 9, 1937, it was incorporated on April 10, 1937. Since then, the squad has answered over 75,000 calls.
It all started with a few people who saw a need for this type of organization in Scotch Plains; Harold Hill, the son of one of the founder members, is still active on the rescue squad today. The first ambulance was bought used from Muhlenberg Hospital for $250.00. Today, an ambulance cost about $205,000.00. This does not include all the equipment necessary to assist people in a medical crisis, such as defibrillators, oxygen tanks, bandages, backboards, and radios, to name just a few. Originally, this ambulance was kept at the municipal building and its members, numbering around 20, would respond when the siren in town sounded. Today, the squad has 83 members and its own building purchased in 1943. After many renovations, the building is now three times its original size.
Back then, members were trained in advanced first aid. Today, training is at a much higher caliber and active members are full Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s) certified by the state of New Jersey who can do everything from setting a broken leg to restarting a heart in cardiac arrest. Members come from all walks of life: doctors, nurses, police officers, business employees, stay-at-home moms and dads, and everything in between.
The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad also has a strong cadet program, and these 16 and 17 year olds are also trained to save lives. For others who want to help but are not interested in direct patient care, the squad auxiliary does a great job with holding fundraisers, like the upcoming pancake breakfast on March 26th, providing occasional dinners to our members on meeting nights, and supporting the squad in general. Anyone 14 years or older can join this group.
Besides responding to calls, the squad stands by at many town functions. You will see its ambulances at high school football games, concerts on the green, the Italian Festival and many others. They also give talks and tours of the ambulances to Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, preschools and any other organization that’s interested in what they do. In addition, the rescue squad has a large assortment of wheelchairs, crutches, walkers and other medical equipment which it loans out to the community free of charge.
All of these services are made possible by the generous contributions of the Scotch Plains community. Without this support, the Rescue Squad could not do what it does so well. They are Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Working for Pride, not Pay. If you would like more information, go to www.ScotchPlainsRescueSquad.com or call 908-322-2103.