KEYPORT, NJ - The South Orange Rescue Squad (SORS) participated in the 5th Annual Bayshore EMS Cadet Competition in Keyport, New Jersey on Sunday, June 11, winning big despite it being their first time entering the competition, which is hosted by the Keyport First Aid Squad.

Competing against 35 other cadet teams, the SORS team won both first place in the “Advanced Team” category and the “Grand Champion” award for highest all around score. 

In addition to bringing home two trophies, South Orange was awarded a greater-than-perfect score for their initiative, innovation, and excellence in care.

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“I’m so incredibly proud of these cadets and their advisors,” said Scott Egelberg, Captain of SORS. “They trained hard and they demonstrated why our cadet program and our squad as a whole practices progressive and outstanding emergency medical care.”

“I wasn’t sure what to expect,” added team member EMT Cole Fitzsimmons. “We train a lot at South Orange so I felt that we were ready for it.”

This event brought Emergency Medical Services (EMS) cadet teams from New York and New Jersey together for a two day event that combines EMS skill competitions, educational experiences, training, and socializing with like-minded peers. Many volunteer ambulance squads across the state have cadet programs where teenagers train alongside adult members to provide emergency medical care to their community. 

“These cadet groups are valuable feeder programs to help critical volunteer shortages in squads.” according to SORS President Troy Balog. “We’ve had our cadet program for three years and many former cadets are now active adult members, including our current 1st Lieutenant!  We are all volunteer, do not charge for our services, and exist on donations, so people who give so much of their time are highly valued.”

Cadet teams could enter the “Basic” level competition or the “Advanced” level. Basic teams consisted of CPR or first aid trained cadets and were evaluated in stations consisting of Vital Sign, CPR, and bleeding control. The “Advanced” teams had to have at least two Emergency Medical Technicians and their three stations consisted of a simulated fall down to flights of stairs with two broken legs, a Heart Attack/Cardiac Arrest simulation, and a serious car accident where two critical patients were entrapped in the vehicle. 

“For the car accident station we had to work with the fire department to use the Jaws of Life to remove doors from the vehicle,” shared EMT team member Victor Rothstein.  

The victims in each of the scenarios were either role played by a volunteer with medical make-up or a high-tech simulator mannequin. Cadets were evaluated in each station by Paramedics, EMT Instructors, or physicians who provided detailed feedback to the teens after each test.

Between events, Cadets and their advisors could try a variety of medical simulators brought to the event by the New Jersey EMS Task Force and the MONOC Paramedic Service.  “All of our advisors and cadets got to use video laryngoscopes to intubate a mannequin, tourniquet simulators to stop massive hemorrhage, and attempt Paramedic skills like interosseousneedles and cricothyrotomy on a simulator under the direction of a Paramedic educator. It was a great experience and a chance to have our cadets learn new skills.  We are very grateful to the Keyport First Aid Squad and their Chief Ken Krouge for organizing this event,” stated Barry BAchenheimer, South Orange Cadet Advisor and EMT.

After the skills stations were completed, all were invited to watch the landing of MONOC Air 1, an aeromedical helicopter. After getting to look in the helicopter and talk to the staff, cadets gathered for the awards ceremony. 

In addition to Fitzsimmons and Rothstein, the team was rounded out by Certified First Responder Lea Bachenheimer and first aider Katrina Guterman.  The team was trained and advised by Bachenheimer, Balog, and EMT Kristen Ryan.

The South Orange Rescue Squad is an all-volunteer agency that provides free Emergency Medical Services and ambulance response to the Village of South Orange as well as mutual aid to Maplewood, Newark, Orange, and West Orange.  Founded in 1952, the squad currently consists of 41 members and cadets.  To find out more about the department, to join, or to make a donation, check out, or twitter @SORescueSquad