August is traditionally a quiet month in Summit as many residents take vacation and members of the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad typically receive fewer emergency calls. That was not the case this year as the Squad responded to 169 emergency 9-1-1 calls; up from 162 in June and just two fewer that the 171 July.
The most notable response of the summer was in July when Overlook Medical Center was placed on lockdown due to a possible security incident. During that time Overlook’s Emergency Department was closed and the Summit First Aid Squad set up an emergency medical clinic in their building. While incoming ambulances can be advised by radio to divert to another hospital, “walk-in” patients and those driven by private car still needed attention. These patients were directed by police to the First Aid Squad building where they could be evaluated and transported by ambulance to another hospital if needed. It’s not the first time the Summit First Aid Squad has performed this service. In past years a fire and power outage at Overlook prompted toe Squad to take similar action.
Calls for July and August included 168 medical emergencies: 37 motor vehicle accidents, including 4 with entrapment and 6 overturned vehicles; 34 traumatic injuries; 43 falls, including several from ladders; 29 reports of poisoning or overdose; three allergic reactions; 2 animal bites; and 11 responses to a medical alarm. Squad Volunteers also provided 11 “lift assists” to patients who did not require transport to a hospital.
24 emergency calls were answered by an off-duty “back-up crew” of volunteers responding from home or work when the on-duty crew is busy. 16 emergency calls were to provide mutual aid assistance to neighboring towns. Forty-three patients transported to a hospital by Squad members also received advanced life support care from a hospital-based paramedic unit which accompanied the Squad’s ambulance.
The Squad answers calls for help 24 hours a day and at a variety of locations. In July & August there were 139 responses to patient’s home or apartment. Seventy were for accidents and medical emergencies on roads or highways; 21 calls were to assisted living facilities; 20 were to local businesses; 17 in public buildings, and 10 to a health care professionals office. There were also seven medical incidents on sidewalks; and three on the grounds of Overlook Medical Center. Other response locations included, schools, houses of worship parking lots, the train station and pools.
Squad members also provided EMS coverage at several community events including the Independence Day activities and evening fireworks, National Night Out, and a carnival in Kenilworth.
The all-volunteer Summit First Aid Squad -- which responds to emergency calls 24/7 -- is entirely funded through private donations and does not bill for service. The Squad has 90 members, including 20 junior members, and is always looking for new volunteers to join its ranks. All needed training, uniforms and equipment is provided. For information on becoming a volunteer, or donating to the squad please call 908-277-9479, or visit summitems.org.