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Jan 31, 2017

Colts Neck First Aid Squad Fundraising Drive Continues

By Tony Senk

The Colts Neck First Aid Squad is in the middle of a three-month-long fundraising drive to raise money to keep the volunteer squad operating for this year. Every month, members of the squad see more and more volunteer squads in other towns convert to paid EMS services. Fortunately for Colts Neck, the first aid squad has not yet needed to go this route.

“There are two factors contributing to the need to transition to paid services,” explained Brian Feury, the squad’s communications director. “The first is the lack of funding to run the squad. The basic costs just to purchase a new ambulance is well over $200,000, and costs for supplies, maintenance, and training all keep increasing. The second factor is the lack of volunteers for the first aid squad. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, when volunteer first aid squads were in their heyday, New Jersey led the country with over 600 volunteer squads. Since the late 1990s, that number has dropped to under 300.”

Mr. Feury pointed out some estimated costs that would fall onto township residents if Colts Neck were forced to move to a paid EMS service. For example, with 24 full-time EMTs earning an estimated $1,008,000 and supplies, maintenance, and equipment with an estimated cost of $200,000, the total cost to Colts Neck and its residents would be estimated to be around $1,208,000 per year.

“With our squad members responding to more than 700 calls annually, this averages out to over $1,700 per call,” said Mr. Feury. “Currently, the service is free to residents and costs the town nothing. Please help us reach our fundraising goals and consider volunteering. We’re always looking for new members.” To donate or join the squad, go to www.coltsneckfirstaid.org.

Squad members responded to a total of 73 calls in December. Of those, 35 were medical calls, 15 were injury calls, 12 were motor vehicle accidents, three were crisis calls, and eight were miscellaneous. Leading the call responder list were Chuck Fredda with 59 calls, Mario Santoro and Craig Sherman with 33 calls each, and Denise Horneck with 32 calls.