ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – Have you considered what your local volunteer EMS organization contributes to the community lately?

If not, now's the time to note their efforts, as the Atlantic Highlands First Aid and Safety Squad prepares to mark the annual EMS Week.

The national week is set aside to highlight the contributions of local EMS squads to their communities.

As part of the event, the Atlantic Highlands First Aid Squad Cadets will participate in the Townwide Garage Sale set for May 14, starting at 9 a.m. The Cadets, a division of the AHFAS set aside for those between the ages of 14 and 17, use the event as a fundraiser.

“Members of the squad give their time and energy to responding to emergency calls around the clock,” said chief Richard Huff. “A lot of folks are unaware that every member of the organization is a volunteer, and does so willingly.”

The AHFAS responded to 545 emergency medical and rescue calls in 2010 and is already over 200 for 2011. The organization provides free emergency medical services on land and on the water.

Indeed, during 2010, members spent more than 3,000 hours just responding to calls. That does not include the countless additional hours spent training and maintaining the squad's fleet of three ambulances, two watercraft and an all-terrain vehicle.

“It's been estimated by Volunteers In Public Service that an hour of a New Jersey volunteer's time is worth $25.20,” Huff said. “The value of the efforts of the women and men of the Atlantic Highlands First Aid and Safety Squad are invaluable to the community and the people we serve, our friends and neighbors.”

Not only are the members volunteers, but the squad survives soley on generous donations from the borough and the community.

The organization is always looking for new members. Training is free. And, as a 501 c3 non-profit there are many ways for residents to contribute now, or through their estates.

“What better way is there to honor the volunteers of the Atlantic Highlands First Aid Squad than to become a member,” said Huff. “Take a moment to mark EMS Week by becoming a volunteer. The personal satisfaction of helping support a vital organization like the AHFAS is endless.”

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