Hazlet First Aid Welcomes New Ambulance

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March 25, 2021
This week the Hazlet First Aid welcomed a brand new ambulance that will make responding to emergency calls safer and easier for the all-volunteer squad. Patients will also benefit from state-of-the-art features that enhance patient care at critical moments. 

The new 2019 F550 Type 1 ambulance is also equipped with 4 wheel drive to help the squad make lifesaving trips through snow and mud, a first for the squad's fleet.   

But the ambulance’s most important feature is that it is designed to prevent the potential for COVID-19 exposure during calls – something that was missing in the 1983 rig it replaces.

"CDC guidelines recommend that ambulances have isolated driver compartments," said Mayor Tara Clark. "The new ambulance will provide a safer environment for both patients and our First Aid responders. Our exceptional volunteer emergency responders have seen a significant increase in COVID-19 related calls this year. The new rig will be a wonderful addition." 

First Aid Chief Stephen Schmidt said, “The old ambulance that we are retiring didn’t have a barrier between the front driver compartment and the patient care compartment. So now we have that. There is a wall and a window that closes." 

Exposure to COVID-19 can have a devastating impact on the volunteer squad because it can result in quarantine or even illness, reducing the numbers of responders available in an emergency. It also can affect a volunteer’s personal life and result in lost wages at work.

The new vehicle will make patient transport physically easier for the duty crew responding to emergencies. The truck automatically lowers six inches when the rear doors are opened, which helps the volunteer place a patient in the back. 

First Aid Captain Jennifer McKay believes this a great feature. “I’m five feet tall, so the fact that the truck kneels for me is huge,” she said. “It ends up being lower than other trucks. It makes it a lot easier to get the patient into the truck.”

The squad also has acquired two back-saving Stryker power lift stretchers for patient transport. The patient lifts can be easily operated by a volunteer who may lack the strength to move heavier people.

Inside, the new ambulance is more spacious, with higher ceilings, and it offers more room for medics and volunteers. It has smooth surfaces for better sanitation, five point safety harnesses for volunteers, a child seat and LED lighting.

The new truck is currently being stocked at the Leocadia Court building, known as Unit 1. Volunteers are being trained on how to drive the slightly longer vehicle. In coming days, it will be used to respond to emergencies throughout Hazlet’s 5.5 square miles from the Maple Drive building, known as Unit 2.

The ambulance will be featured in the Bike with a Bunny Parade on Saturday, March 27 in Hazlet. It will also be the centerpiece of the squad’s 75th anniversary celebration this fall.

The squad welcomes volunteers. To learn more, visit HazletFirstAid.org.

First Aid Rescue Tools Hazlet First Aid Trains with New Rescue Tools

March 18, 2021

Hazlet First Aid and Rescue Squad now has two new rescue tools that will save precious minutes at a car accident scene when it is urgent to pry apart the wreckage in order to free people trapped inside.

Recently, the squad acquired the latest technology of the Jaws of Life cutting tool and a spreader. These battery electric hydraulics are smaller, lighter and stronger than the previous gas powered hydraulics. Most importantly, as they are battery operated and untethered from a power unit, rescuers can extricate trapped people faster. The tools also allow the volunteers to spend less time in confined places with victims, reducing their potential for exposure to COVID-19.

“When we arrive on a scene we can literally pull this equipment out and work on the vehicle instantly, as opposed the current technology of starting a gas motor to power the hydraulic system,” said Jim Cavuto, the township's rescue squad captain. 

The squad has been practicing with the new rescue tools, which will be kept in the rescue rig. The tools cost $10,000 each and were purchased by the squad through community fundraisers. 

McKay and tools"Our town is blessed to have a strong volunteer first responder force in First Aid and fire," said Township Committeeman Skip McKay, who is also a Hazlet First Aid volunteer.  "The pandemic has not slowed our volunteers a moment." 

McKay said that in addition to selflessly volunteering around the clock, the volunteers also run fundraisers for life-saving equipment to help anyone in town. He added, "Please be supportive of their fundraising efforts."