ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, N.J. – The Atlantic Highlands First Aid & Safety Squad has kicked off its annual fund drive with a letter to all residents of the borough.
Each year, members of the squad reach out to the community seeking donations, which are then used directly to fund the all-volunteer emergency services and rescue organization.
“We realize we’re reaching out at a difficult time for many,” said AHFAS president Lou Marotta. “However, we depend on the generosity of our friends and neighbors to purchase supplies, maintain our ambulances and to continue providing professional EMS services for free to the community.”
The organization provides EMS and rescue services to the community on a 24-hour basis. Dedicated members give their free time for training and to respond to calls, which range from minor cuts, to serious injuries. They do so, day or night, and often at the expense of time with their families.
Members responded to 382 calls in 2008, and devoted combined more than 3,000 hours volunteering to answer calls and training to assure residents get the best care. They also recently donated a night of their time to label more than 2,000 envelopes for the fund drive.
AHFAS members also train for rescue and EMS operations on water and ice. The squad operates and maintains a marine rescue compliment of an 18-foot Boston Whaler and a Zodiac. The squad also handles and maintains equipment for vehicle extrication operations.
The squad’s dedication to the community led to it being named the 2008 Volunteer EMS Organization by the New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services, Office of Emergency Medical Services.
Besides answering emergency calls, the squad operates the annual Santa visits through town, and offers first aid and CPR training to community groups.
“The cost of providing these services, like everything, continues to increase year-to-year, meaning we depend more on the community now than ever,” said squad treasurer Walter Curry. “Every donation, no matter the size, helps.”