Cranbury Fire Company, First Aid Squad Donations Drop
Volunteers are also needed.
Only three weeks into 2012, the Cranbury Township First Aid Squad and Volunteer Fire Company have noticed a drop in donations, with their costs rising annually.
“We understand that it’s been a recession and times are tough, people have to cut back, but we still have to answer the call. Recessions don’t effect emergencies and we still need to be available for you, trained and ready,” said Charlie Smith, president of both the First Aid Squad and Fire Company.
First Aid Squad
In 2010 the First Aid Squad responded to about 640 calls, and about 805 calls in 2011, Smith said. The 2010 fund drive was down by 30 percent, and in 2011 the fund drive was down an additional 10 percent.
The annual expenses for the private company include paying for new volunteer’s training, which is $1,200 plus books per volunteer, insurance costs, maintenance on vehicles, utilities for the building and a paid EMS crew from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, Smith said. Their budget this year is about $350,000.
This year the First Aid Squad also wants to purchase two automatic CPR machines this year to equip two out of the three ambulances. Each machine costs $15,000 and this year donations will not cover the cost.
“In the past our contributions would cover that, but they no longer come close to that so we’re going to have to go into our savings to buy two of them,” Smith said, adding that he wanted to thank everyone who has contributed to either department.
Smith said the save rate increased 30 percent while using these machines, which have no down time and don’t stop compressions.
Next year the First Aid Squad will also need to purchase a new ambulance, which costs around $180,000, Smith said.
The First Aid Squad charges for calls and bills insurance companies, but Smith wanted to remind Cranbury residents they will never be personally charged for a call. The cost is $650 per call and $14 per mile after a patient is picked up.
“We will never collect money from a resident,” Smith said.
In 2010 the Fire Company responded to around 300 calls, and 350 calls in 2011, Smith said. The 2010 fund drive was down 25 percent, and the 2011 fund drive was down 20 percent.
Annual expenses for the Fire Company include annual testing of equipment including the hoses, latters, pumps and an aerial piece which costs about $12,000; maintenance on six trucks, which costs about $15,000; and $2,500 worth of protective gear for each new volunteer, Smith said. Their annual budget is about $140,000.
“Donations are critical to both of those organizations who need to put out the level of service that they are doing,” said Councilman Jay Taylor.
In addition to donations, both departments are also looking for volunteers, Smith said. The respective companies pay for training and equipment.
“It tends to be the same people over and over responding to fire and first aid calls,” Taylor said, noting he just submitted an application to the Fire Company to volunteer.
There are also programs for volunteers under the age of 18, Smith said. Those ages 16 to 18 can join a volunteer program as a junior firefighter, and those ages 14 to 18 can join a cadet program at the First Aid Squad.
There are 25 active Fire Company members and 15 active EMS members, with 10 of those members active in both departments.
Cranbury Township Helping Out
Cranbury Township gives the First Aid Squad $70,000 annually, and the Fire Company receives $90,000 annually, which is the maximum contribution allowed by the state. The Township also pays for gas for the First Aid Squad, helping save $12,000 last year, Taylor said.
The Fire Company is also purchasing a new brush truck this year with help from the Township. Last year the Township budgeted $150,000 for the truck, and the Fire Company is contributing an additional $22,690 since bids for the truck came in over the $150,000 allocation. The Township will vote on the ordinance to accept the money from the First Aid Squad at the next Township Committee meeting.
The Township is also helping the Fire Company with grants by helping gain support among elected officials at both the state and federal level for the grants, Taylor said.
For information on volunteering at the Fire Company, call 609-395-0633, and for the First Aid Squad call 609-395-1707.
To donate to either EMS or the Fire Company, note donation on the check and mail it to the Cranbury Fire Company, 2 South Main Street, or the Cranbury First Aid Squad, 68 Maplewood Ave.
CPR classes are also offered by request by calling Charlie Smith at 609-395-1707.