August is usually a quiet, relaxing month in Summit. Schools are closed and many families vacation during this time. As a result it’s generally the least busy month for the Summit First Aid Squad.
However, if this first week of August 2015 is any indication, things may be different this year. Squad volunteers answered 3 simultaneous ambulance calls Tuesday morning and mid-day on Thursday did it again, followed by 2 more simultaneous calls just 30 minutes after clearing the first 3.
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 2 injured drivers. The Millburn Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad was tied up on a separate call, so a 2nd Summit ambulance was requested to respond. At almost the same time, a 9-1-1 call for a medical emergency on Springfield Ave was received. Off duty members quickly responded to staff the squads 2nd and 3rd ambulances and answer both calls. Just 15 minutes later a 4th call was received for a medical emergency on Clark St. 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 St call which they did. “This was a good exercise in mutual aid”, said Mr. Staunton. In this case, using the Summit EMS crews to treat the 2 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 3 towns dispatched from the same room is helpful in situations like this.
On Thursday morning, there was another case of all 3 Summit ambulances responding to simultaneous calls, While the duty crew was handling a medical emergency on Ashwood Ave, off duty volunteers again responded to answer additional medical calls on Springfield Ave and Kent Place Blvd. Not long after the duty crew finished with their call, they received and other request for help on Kent Place Blvd. 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 3 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 2 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, please call 908-277-9479, or click HERE.