Plea for New Jersey citizens to join local volunteer EMS squads

The New Jersey State First Aid Council (NJSFAC) opposes bills A3749 and S2302 now before the state Legislature. The 77-year-old nonprofit NJSFAC, which represents more than 20,000 EMS volunteers, believes these bills would decrease funding for first responding basic life support (BLS) units that depend on patient billing to support their operations, and transfer that billing revenue to advanced life support (ALS) units. The bills’ ambiguous wording makes it unclear whether volunteer BLS organizations would be impacted. These bills would also allow ALS units to transport patients without BLS personnel, thereby reducing the number of trained individuals in the back of an ambulance with a critically sick or injured patient.

New Jersey health officials have commissioned an independent study of the state’s current EMS system and its funding mechanisms. No radical changes should be made until the analysis is completed.

A strong volunteer BLS ambulance base will keep the imperiled EMS system – already strained from inadequate funding – from imploding. We estimate volunteer EMS responders saved New Jersey taxpayers more than $150 million in 2005. Imagine what would happen if the state were to lose volunteer BLS services. This is yet another plea for New Jersey citizens to join their local volunteer EMS squads.

Sue Van Orden


New Jersey State

First Aid Council

Lincoln Park