SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – The South Orange Rescue Squad needs community support.
Its all-volunteer members have been staffing ambulances 24 hours a day and seven days a week since May 31 because the private company that used to provide EMS services during the daytime and early evening hours was no longer able to provide these services.
Expenses for the rescue squad have risen by about 55 percent due to the increased call volume, staffing and workload, its members told TAPinto SOMA in a Facebook message.
The squad is currently asking residents for donations to fund its operating and equipment costs.
“Our aging fleet of ambulances has made it more challenging to assist the community, and are already in need of being replaced,” squad members said in the message, noting that a new ambulance truck could cost between $150,000 and $200,000.
Recently the South Orange Board of Trustees honored the squad with a proclamation as it made its appeal for donations.
“All across New Jersey and all across the country, you have a lot of rescue squads that can’t survive because they don’t have the appropriate support and training or the appropriate financial support,” said South Orange Village President Sheena Collum during a recent Board of Trustees meeting.
“Here in South Orange, we have an incredible team that year after year recruits new and motivated talent. They operate off a shoestring budget so when you get an annual appeal in the mail, give generously because it helps the lives of so many people,” Collum said.
The squad responded to 1,400 calls in 2018 and that number is expected to increase in 2019, according to the proclamation. The squad has grown from when it was founded in 1952 and now has about 40 members and four ambulance trucks that respond to medical emergencies in South Orange.
The squad also responds to medical emergency calls at Seton Hall University and assists with calls from Maplewood, Orange, Newark and other neighboring communities.
“Our members are more dedicated that you’d ever imagine,” said South Orange Rescue Squad Captain Scott Egelberg during the meeting. “They have been taking off family time, they come here during the day, and they stand by their every day lives to serve us.”
Donations may be made online at https://www.southorangerescuesquad.org/contribute or by sending a check to South Orange Rescue Squad, 62 Sloan St., South Orange, NJ 07079.