Government

Countywide EMS Service Continues to Grow

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Countywide EMS has grown rapidly since first established as a pilot project in 2011 by the Freeholder Board. Credits: County of Union, New Jersey.
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The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that the Union County Emergency Medical Service is on track to experience its fourth straight year of growth by a wide margin. The Freeholder Board established the service permanently in January 2012, in response to increased calls for emergency assistance throughout the County.

“Since its inception, Countywide EMS has demonstrated its worth time and again,” said Freeholder Jalloh. “This additional county-based crew of highly qualified emergency responders has proved to be an invaluable resource for local public safety departments and volunteer squads.”

The Union County Emergency Medical Service (Countywide EMS) has responded to 3,681 calls so far in 2015, from January to August 2015. The average of 460 calls per month puts the yearly total on track for approximately 5,500 calls. The total for 2014 was 4,223 calls or just under 352 calls monthly.

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The Freeholder Board launched Countywide EMS in June 2011 as a pilot project, after discussions with the 21 municipalities highlighted the need to increase emergency services in Union County.

The pilot project began with two ambulances donated by the Rahway Emergency Squad. On its first day, Countywide EMS answered four requests for service, close to the anticipated startup number of up to five calls daily on average. All but one of the 21 municipalities in Union County used the service during the pilot phase.

The first full year of service for Countywide EMS was 2012, during which it answered a total of 1,449 calls. In 2013 it answered 1,887 calls.

“Budget constraints, hospital emergency room closings, changes in medical practices, difficulties in recruiting volunteers – these are all sources of pressure on local responders,” said Jalloh. “Countywide EMS enables us to address those issues in a coordinated way without additional costs for taxpayers, and that has become all the more important in recent years as our population has increased.”

Countywide EMS makes additional ambulance service available 24/7. It can be called into service when local officials are handling multiple calls at once, or calls involving multiple victims, to ensure that emergency services are delivered as quickly as possible. It can also be used as backup when local ambulances are out of commission for unexpected maintenance or repairs, and it can serve as a standby precaution at public events.

“The pilot was a success on both the need and financial sides,” said Andrew Moran, Union County Director of Public Safety. “As expected, local dispatchers began using it immediately, and insurance reimbursements have covered the full cost of the service.”

In 2014, Countywide EMS added a third ambulance and was given the annual award for Outstanding Public EMS Agency from the New Jersey Department of Health.

The Public Agency category recognizes outstanding leadership in a number of areas including patient care, access to EMS, disaster preparedness, education, training, and professionalism.

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