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Should Towns Pay for Fire, First Aid to Expedite Response Times?

New Jersey town's volunteer first aid squad being sued by widow of Toms River native and Hoboken attorney as part of wrongful death claim for alleged slow response.

A northern New Jersey carjacking turned fatal in December 2013 has called into question the ability of volunteer emergency services, as a widow has filed suit against a trio of organizations, including a first aid squad.

Dustin Friedland, 30, a Hoboken attorney and Toms River native was shot in the head while two men attempted stealing his Range Rover SUV in the parking garage of The Mall at Short Hills.

The response time of the Millburn first aid squad was immediately called into question following the murder, with some reports stating it took first responders up to 30 minutes to get on scene.

Jamie Schare Friedland, who called 911 after her husband was shot, has filed suit against the mall’s ownership, the mall security’s organization, and the Millburn First Aid Squad citing wrongful death.

The Millburn First Aid Squad, like so many other first responder agencies in New Jersey, is volunteer-based. The squad’s president, H. Steven Roth, said that night’s on-duty chief arrived in her own vehicle 10 minutes after the call was made.

The lawsuit brings into question the need for staffed emergence responders versus those in a volunteer role for both first aid and fire departments. 

So, are paid services worth the money for potentially expedited response times? Should towns with volunteer emergency services put first aid and firefighters on payroll for potentially quicker response times?  

Joe R March 26, 2014 at 11:09 AM
"...with no additional tax revenue from the people living in these units." Landlords of apartment buildings have to pay property taxes and they use the rental fees to pay all their expenses including property taxes. Property taxes is built into the rent that tenants pay.
Lawyer1 March 26, 2014 at 06:23 PM
One of my sons who played NCAA Lacrosse was taken twice to a hospital here in NJ by ambulance....for leg injuries...The hospital was only 1.5 miles away from the stadium and the cost both times were 2.5K per trip. He could have rode in a car but was forced to take the ambulance ride and then deal with the bills.
Albert D March 28, 2014 at 04:59 PM
I am a volunteer firefighter in a wealthy Bergen county township, I have being volunteering for 5 years now and have training on the state and federal level. My town has a 100% volunteer fire department and a 100% ambulance corps. Each are very very dedicated, trained well, and are well respected throughout northern NJ for our services. However the biggest issue is man power during working times due to the fact we work jobs out of the area (I work at a hospital in central jersey). At any given time during the day you can have 2 guys show up to a call or 15, its hit or miss. Night time and weekends that's a different story because people are around. Same thing with our ambulance corps, they have a duty crew but if the duty crew is on a run when something else comes in during the day odds are another rig isn't getting out. Going 100% paid wont happen due to the fact that it would be too much money to pay to staff a fire truck and ambulance 24/7. However another option to look into is having a half paid half volunteer fire/ems department. You can have 2 FF/EMTS on a fire engine and a paid EMT driver on the ambulance during the day supplemented by volunteers. An example is if you have a Fire Alarm you already of a driver and FF on the Fire engine and now the first vollies come in you roll the truck 2-4 minutes faster due to the staffing at the fire house. Another example you now have an EMS ca,ll ambulance goes along with a fire engine with its FF/EMTS on it so now you have 3 EMTS on scene ( 2 from the fire truck 1 from the ambulance) and the vollies can also respond to help package and transport the patient. I feel that most of the state will never be paid but with the growing population in the state and the lack of volunteering in the emergency services I can see a half volunteer half paid happen. But this is just my opinion for my own town....Cheers
Politics.man March 28, 2014 at 11:30 PM
Albert, there's a million ways to accomplish this "problem" being cost effective, but many politicians are afraid to go up against the "institution"
Lucretia B March 29, 2014 at 10:48 PM
I'd like to see volunteer firefighters and first aid squads be required to get the training it takes to be a professional while on call. I know of one first aid squad who make the ride to the hospital something like a "family affair", and believe me, if youre the patient lying in the back of that truck in pain....then all you need is a bunch of conversation between two teenage girls. But yeah.....I think towns should pay for these things.

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