SUMMIT, NJ - August is traditionally a quiet, relaxing month in Summit.
Schools are closed, many families vacation during the month and, as a result, it is generally the least busy month for the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad.
However, if this first week of August 2015 is any indication, things may be different this year. Squad volunteers answered three simultaneous ambulance calls twice in the past week alone, followed by two more simultaneous calls just 30 minutes after clearing the first three.
The Tuesday duty crew answered a call for a motor vehicle accident on Route 124. On arrival they discovered the call was actually in Short Hills and began to assist two injured drivers. The Millburn-Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad was tied up on a separate call, so a second Summit ambulance was requested to respond.
At almost the same time, a 9-1-1 call for a medical emergency on Springfield Avenue was received. Off-duty members quickly responded to staff the squads second and third ambulances and answer both calls. Just 15 minutes later, a fourth call was received for a medical emergency on Clark Street.
The Millburn ambulance crew had cleared the hospital and was just pulling up on the route 124 scene. Summit Crew Chief John Staunton asked them to handle the Clark Strett call, which they did. “This was a good exercise in mutual aid”, said Staunton. In this case, using the Summit EMS crews to treat the two patients in Millburn, while the Millburn crew treated the last Summit patient was a better option than waiting for each towns' ambulance to free up, and resulted in more prompt care for all patients involved.
Just last week, dispatch operations for EMS, Police, and Fire for Summit, Millburn and New Providence were moved to the new Joint Dispatch center in New Providence. Having agencies from all three towns dispatched from the same room is helpful in these situations.
On Thursday morning, there was another case of all thre Summit ambulances responding to simultaneous calls, While the duty crew was handling a medical emergency on Ashwood Avenue, off-duty volunteers again responded to answer additional medical calls on Springfield Avenue and Kent Place Boulevard.
Not long after the duty crew finished with their call, they received and other request for help on Kent Place Boulevard, followed shortly by the need for an ambulance at Summit Police headquarters. Off-duty members once again responded to answer the call at the Police station.
Using all three ambulances at once is not all that uncommon;. "It typically happens at least once a month,” said Squad Captain Kari Phair. But, to see that happen twice in just two days is rare.
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.summitems.org.