Even in snowstorms, EMS volunteers are there to help

It’s been said that volunteer EMS [emergency medical services] is like oxygen: most people don’t realize they need it until they don’t have it.

Unless they required medical assistance during the last three snowstorms, most New Jerseyans likely were blissfully unaware their local volunteer ambulance crews remained staffed and ready to respond to calls. Forgoing warm beds and lazy snow days with their families, countless EMS volunteers throughout the state slept at their squad buildings during the storms to make sure calls were answered without delay. When calls came in, these volunteers gladly braved the elements to help neighbors and strangers alike — free of charge.

Currently, in more than 80 percent of New Jersey, when someone calls for an ambulance, volunteers respond. The 80-year-old New Jersey State First Aid Council represents more than 20,000 EMS volunteers affiliated with more than 350 first aid and rescue squads throughout the state. We’re always recruiting new volunteers, with or without prior EMS experience, to join our team. For more information, visit your local squad or our website at www.njsfac.org.

The next time Mother Nature throws New Jersey a curve ball, think about the EMS volunteers donating their time to help you, even if you never have occasion to call them.

A final thought: there’s no need to wait until EMS Week in May to show your appreciation. Any day is ideal to thank the EMS volunteers in your town.

Barbara Aras

Little Silver

President New Jersey State First Aid