GREEN BROOK, NJ - At the Tuesday, September 8th Green Brook Township Committee meeting, the Township Committee voted to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding for 24/7 EMS coverage to be provided by the Borough of North Plainfield. In late August, the EMS Division brought to the attention of the Township that they were having difficulties providing coverage for the Township due to a reduction in membership. The decline has led to a reduction in coverage for the Township from 7 nights a week to 2-3 nights a week and haphazard weekend coverage. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH, previously Somerset Medical Center) has been providing day-time coverage, Monday-Friday since 2005. Upon the request of the EMS Division, the Township has been investigating options to ensure coverage for the safety of its residents.
The Township received proposals for coverage from RWJUH and the Borough of North Plainfield. The initial request from the EMS division was to seek proposals for a temporary expansion of coverage from RWJUH to include additional evening and weekend responsibilities. According to RWJUH’s proposal, that type of short term, part-time arrangement would cost the township $3,500 per week. The Township Committee, seeking a more uniform solution, sought proposals for 24/7 coverage for a one year term from both RWJUH and the Borough of North Plainfield. A one year agreement would provide Green Brook an opportunity to evaluate its volunteer EMT staffing levels and recruit additional members.
In a meeting with North Plainfield, Fire Chief William Eaton expressed the ability to provide 24/7 coverage at no cost to the Township. Their full-time paid professional staff provided daytime EMS coverage in the past. Green Brook’s Police Chief G. Christopher Kurz said “Because we've previously engaged in a similar arrangement with North Plainfield for EMS services, I'm confident that we can use that experience as an indicator of how this arrangement will work to address our current EMS coverage situation.” Also considered by the Township Committee was the RWJUH proposal for 24/7 coverage which would cost the Township approximately $250,000 per year.
Mayor Jerry Searfoss and members of the Township Committee expressed sincere appreciation for the countless hours the volunteers have dedicated to the safety of the community. They also applauded Acting Chief Dave Breen for bringing the shortage concern to the Township and working with them to come up with a solution. “I think that structuring this agreement with North Plainfield and their professionals will provide appropriate and expedient coverage for the entire Green Brook community,” said Mayor Jerry Searfoss.