NJ town ambulance squad shuts down after eviction, staffing troubles

The squad chose to cease service in 2020 after its staff was reduced to just eight volunteers


By EMS1 Staff

MORRISTOWN, N.J. — A New Jersey ambulance service ceased service on New Year’s Eve after 58 years, with members citing lack of staff and several recent setbacks as factors in the decision.

Morristown Ambulance Squad went from 45 volunteers at its peak to just eight members following its eviction from its headquarters and slashes to funding in recent years, according to Morristown Green.

The Morristown Ambulance Squad closed on New Year's Eve after 58 years of service. The squad's staff had been reduced to just eight volunteers and members said they were struggling to cover calls. (Photo/Morristown Ambulance Squad Facebook)
The Morristown Ambulance Squad closed on New Year's Eve after 58 years of service. The squad's staff had been reduced to just eight volunteers and members said they were struggling to cover calls. (Photo/Morristown Ambulance Squad Facebook)

“Many factors have played into this decision and it was not made rashly,” Squad Captain Dominick Sandelli said. “With volunteerism at an all-time low and redevelopment in our town moving us out of our home, we find ourselves unable to meet the demands of the town.”

The squad was moved out of its headquarters at the town’s former public works site so an apartment complex could be built in 2015. They have since kept their ambulances at a Best Western motel but said the change in location made it more difficult to recruit high school students as volunteers.

The same year, nearby Morris Minute Men EMS exited a mutual aid agreement with Morristown Ambulance Squad, as the squad was struggling to cover calls and the excess was creating an “undue burden” on the other service.

The town also cut its annual funding of the squad by half around the same time, although Squad President Karen Johansen said they were still able to cover costs by billing patients.

“Members can raise money. But money can’t raise members,” she said. “We’re not the first ambulance squad to fold, and we’re not going to be the last.”

Recommended for you

Join the discussion

Copyright © 2020 ems1.com. All rights reserved.