SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad is committed to providing the best care for the community while keeping its volunteers safe. Without our certified EMTs and drivers who answer the calls, the ambulances cannot go out. There are some things that residents can do to ensure that they, their family members, and their neighbors have access to this life-saving organization.

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, such as a dry cough and fever, you should first contact your primary care doctor or medical professional who can advise you of the next steps that should be taken.

Please remember that as always, calling 911 is only for true medical emergencies. You may be advised to drive yourself or have a family member drive you to the hospital; being transported by ambulance does not mean you will be seen quicker.

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During this crisis, the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad is still responding to everyday life-threatening medical issues such as heart attacks, strokes, and diabetic emergencies. It’s vital to keep ambulances available for these situations.

However, if your doctor recommends going by ambulance, then calling 911 is the right course of action. Be sure to notify the dispatch personnel that you may have COVID-19 and expect to answer questions about symptoms such as:

  • Do you have a fever?
  • Are you hot to the touch?
  • Do you have the chills?
  • Are you having trouble breathing?
  • Do you have a cough?
  • Are you experiencing any new breathing problems?

First responders ask that you honestly and clearly answer the dispatcher’s questions to better protect those who will come to help you. Also, don’t be alarmed if first responders arrive wearing protective gear, which may consist of paper masks or N95 masks, eye protection, gloves, and/or gowns. Patients will also be provided with masks to wear while being transported.

In order to keep patients and responders safe, the ambulances are being disinfected between every call and every patient, regardless of his or her health status. Ultraviolet lanterns are being used to disinfect the inside compartments and all surfaces are being wiped down.

“We’re working with our local and state offices of emergency management, the CDC, and FEMA to follow the most up-to-date guidelines in order to keep everyone safe,” said Chief Carolyn Sorge. 

The rescue squad is looking for donations of masks and other medical grade protective gear. And of course, monetary donations are always needed. Also, if you are looking to do more to help, please consider volunteering, especially if you already have training. If not, training will be provided.

“We definitely need more people who can assist with answering calls,” said President Daniel Sullivan.

As always, the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad is proud to serve the people of Scotch Plains and surrounding areas. Let’s all do our best to keep ourselves, our neighbors, and our first responders safe.

To contact the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad, go to www.scotchplainsrescuesquad.com, email us at scotchplainsrescuesquad@gmail.com, or call (908) 322-2103.

Contributing author Susan Baldani is a life member of the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad.

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