SUMMIT, NJ - Closing in on six decades of 'Neighbors Helping Neighbors' the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad (SVFAS) continues to provide emergency ambulance response -- 365 days a year, 24-hours a day -- to residents of the Hilltop City. The Squad, does not charge for its services or receive any taxpayer-supplied funding, rather it relies on the on community support in order to continue its vital mission.

Responding to more than 2,000 calls each year, the Squad is staffed entirely by volunteers and relies solely upon private donations to fund their operation. Neither patients nor taxpayers have ever received a bill from the Squad.

"The dedicated members of the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad provide essential, life-saving services for the citizens of Summit,” said Summit Mayor Nora Radest. "As highly-trained and committed volunteers, they are passionate about their work and are ready to help at a moment’s notice. Many residents have told me stories of the calm, compassionate and professional assistance they receive from the squad. I am extremely thankful for their important service."

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The SVFAS is now beginning its annual fund drive, an appeal that is sent in the mail to each Summit home and business. Donations are also accepted at summitems.org. Like all Squad itself and all of its efforts, the fund drive itself is run by volunteers, with no outside agents utilized and no solicitations made via the telephone.

While the First Aid Squad is not a City agency, it does work closely with the City as a critical public safety partner and are Summit’s primary Emergency Medical Services agency. The Mayor has estimated that the Squad saves local taxpayers as much as $2 million each year.

The level of training squad members receive and care they provide, the quality of the equipment, and the number of calls for help answered each year, have all increased dramatically since its founding in 1962. Like nearly everything else, the costs of supplies, equipment and training continue to climb.

One thing that has not changed is the commitment to providing the Summit community with the best emergency medical services available. From minor medical emergencies to major disasters, from standing by at a high school football game to answering a 9-1-1 call for a heart attack at 3 a.m., Squad members have always been willing to answer the call.

The all-volunteer squad responds a variety of calls, including medical emergencies, accidents, fires, non-emergency ambulance transportation, coverage at most major community events, and major responses to man-made and natural disasters.

Members receive continuing training to maintain skills and keep up to date with the latest emergency equipment and lifesaving techniques.  The Squad also offers CPR and first aid training to the public.

The all-volunteer First Aid Squad is always looking for new members to join its ranks. All needed training, uniforms and equipment is provided.  For information, call 908-277-9479, or visit their web site at: ummitems.org.