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Two Summit women, Sis Barker and Betty Bangs, who were members of the Junior League decided to start a First Aid Squad in Summit. The ladies enlisted the help of a local businessman, Michael J. Formichella, and used his influence in the community to help organize the Squad. On July 28, 1962 the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad, Inc. was formed.
The City of Summit agreed to lease a piece of land on the Summit Ave. extension, across from the Junior High School (now the Middle School), to the Squad for $1.00 per year.
Much of the work on the building including excavating, plumbing, heating and electrical was either donated or performed by volunteers. Construction was completed in 1964.
Overlook Hospital had the first ambulance to serve Summit. This was established as a means of transporting the infirm to the hospital and occasionally used to return them home. The unit was staffed by the hospital security guard sometimes accompanied by an orderly. This unit was dispatched only at the request of a physician or the police. It was only transportation. No first aid of any kind was administered. In the 50's the Summit Fire Department purchased an ambulance which was staffed as needed by 2 firemen. Although they had very little in the way of first aid training, the firemen did their best to transport victims of accidents and sudden illness. This unit never had a dedicated crew, so firemen had to be pulled from an engine or truck to staff it. During a fire, this unit was generally not available. As a result, the Fire Department began to look for an alternative to providing this service.
By the mid 1950's most surrounding towns had first aid squads operated by volunteer organizations. Because neither the Fire Department nor Overlook's ambulance were reliably available on a 24-hour basis, the Summit Police began to request assistance from the Chatham Emergency Squad and Millburn-Short Hills First Aid Squad. In 1961, the Chatham and Millburn groups expressed their dismay at the number of calls to Summit. The City estimates that it would have to hire at least 3 additional full-time firemen in order to properly staff an ambulance.
Two Summit women, Sis Barker and Betty Bangs, who were members of the Junior League (at the time the Junior League of the Morristown, Summit Unit) decided to start a First Aid Squad in Summit. With the blessing of the Junior League, they began their project and enlisted the help of a local Businessman, Michael J. Formichella. Mr. Formichella used his influence in the community to help organize the Squad. On July 28, 1962 the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad, Inc. was formed.
Overlook Hospital donated it's old ambulance which the squad operated for a few months until it was able to purchase a new Cadillac ambulance. For the first 2 years, the ambulance was housed in a garage owned by Mike Formichella on Broad St. Members met and trained in their homes.
A building fund was organized to construct a headquarters for the new Squad. Overlook Hospital offered to donate a piece of land on Beavoir Ave. (the site of the current Emergency department entrance), but this site was deemed unusable due to the high cost of excavating the solid rock there. The City of Summit agreed to lease a piece of land on the Summit Ave. extension, across from the Junior High School (now the Middle School), to the Squad for $1.00 per year. Much of the work on the building including excavating, plumbing, heating and electrical was either donated or performed by volunteers. Among the charter members of the Squad were an excavator, Mike Formichella; a mason contractor, Andy Soccodato; and a heating contractor, Jim Burns. Construction was completed in 1964.
The Summit First Aid Squad today has over 90 active members and answers more than 2,000 calls for help each year. The Squad operates 4 ambulances, a first responder/scene support unit, a special operations trailer for major incidents and an EMS bike team. The technology, level of care, and training have increased significantly over our 50 year history. But one thing that has not changed is our commitment to delivering quality patient care at no cost to the patient or taxpayer.
July 28, 2012 marked 50 years of caring by your neighbors of the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad. After celebrating 50 years of service, the Squad launched a capital campaign to replace the aging building that had served as its home since 1964. Thanks to the generosity of Summit residents and local businesses, the fund raising goal of $5 million was met in less than 2 years and in June of 2014 the original building was razed to make way for a new headquarters.
During construction, the squad operated from temporary facilities behind Salerno-Duane Ford on Broad St. that were generously donated by Chip Duane. The Squad moved into the new building in July of 2015!
In October of 2015, the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad received the EMS Squad of the Year award from the NJ Emergency Medical Services Council.