NJ volunteer first aid squad may disband after 90 years of service

The West Long Branch borough council will vote in 30 days whether or not to dissolve the squad and move to a paid service


Dan Radel
Asbury Park Press

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. — Time is not on the side of the borough's volunteer first aid squad.

In what one borough official summed up as the sign of "changing times," the governing body has informed the squad of its intention to dissolve the volunteer organization in 30 days, according to the procedures established by borough ordinance.

The West Long Branch borough council will decide in 30 days whether the borough's volunteer rescue squad will disband after 90 years of service.
The West Long Branch borough council will decide in 30 days whether the borough's volunteer rescue squad will disband after 90 years of service. (Photo/West Long Branch Emergency Medical Services)

Mayor Janet Tucci said they're trying to make the best decision for the residents as many of the squad's volunteers aren't in town during the day to answer calls and they have already been relying on mutual aid.

The volunteer squad has served the community since 1931, according to the borough website, however, Tucci said the town is bigger now and has a lot more people.

Administrator Stephanie Dollinger said 35% of emergency calls last year were handled by paid services.

In the next 30 days, the mayor and council will determine a new arrangement for emergency medical services but will also give the volunteer squad an opportunity to address the governing body.

The borough is leaning toward using paid services which means residents will be billed through their insurance providers for an ambulance ride, which was a concern raised by residents at Wednesday's virtual Borough Council meeting.

Resident Karen Bischoff suggested the governing body consider a paid arrangement with its volunteers "rather than a complete dissolution."

The mayor and council will make their final decision in one month via a vote.

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

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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