NJ borough prepares to take over ambulance services as squad shuts down

The Belmar First Aid Squad will close on March 31 after nearly a century of service


Ken Serrano
Asbury Park Press

BELMAR, N.J. — The Borough Council has set in place measures to take over emergency medical services from the Belmar First Aid Squad, which announced that it was shutting its doors March 31 because of financial strains.

Two weeks before the deadline, the council unanimously passed an ordinance establishing a Division of Emergency Medical Services under the Department of Public Safety and has designated the division as the official EMS provider for the borough.

The borough of Belmar is preparing to take over ambulance services after the Belmar First Aid Squad closes its doors on March 31.
The borough of Belmar is preparing to take over ambulance services after the Belmar First Aid Squad closes its doors on March 31. (Photo/Doug Hood, Asbury Park Press)

The new division will take over equipment and paid staff from the squad, officials said.

The Council passed a resolution to enter into a purchase agreement to buy two ambulances, a Dodge Durango, other equipment and supplies from the squad for $185,500.

The other financial details of the service and the number of staff needed were not readily available.

The borough will also take on another legacy. Just like the Belmar First Aid Squad, it will not go after residents of the borough or Lake Como for balances for the division’s services that are not covered by insurance, Mayor Mark Walsifer said.

Prior efforts to find an outside service to take over first aid duties have fallen through.

At the March 16 meeting, the council also formally rejected the sole bid from a company to take over the service, That bid came from Quality Medical Transport of Beachwood, which proposed a one-year $545,293 contract for 24/7 coverage with one dedicated ambulance and other rigs on call. Their proposal also offered alternatives, such as a contract for $260,646 for six months of service.

A separate bid from another company for billing was also rejected, although the bid for billing will be put out again, officials said.

“We’re rejecting bids that came in — we sort of knew what they were going to be — and we’re going to have a municipal EMS service,” Walsifer said at the meeting.

The borough continues to move through the process of state certification and other legal details. Staff have been assigned and an EMS director has been picked, said Ryan Dullea, borough fire official. The new director was not named.

“We’re still on track for April 1st for coverage,” Dullea said.

The borough is looking for volunteers to help, he said. The application is on the municipal website.

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(c)2021 the Asbury Park Press (Neptune, N.J.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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