Q: Where is the Chester First Aid Squad located?
A: The squad is currently located in the Highlands Ridge Park at 100 North Road which is the old Bell Labs/Telcordia property.
Q: What type of calls does the Chester First Aid Squad respond to?
A: We respond to approximately 850 calls per year. The call types vary from medical to trauma to psychological. Some calls are serious enough to summon advanced life support or aeromedical services and others are simple transports. Most of our calls for service are in the town of Chester but the squad does respond into other towns if assistance is needed.
Q: What happens when I call 9-1-1?
A: When you dial 9-1-1, an Emergency Medical Dispatcher will answer your call at the Morris County Communication Center located in Parsippany, NJ. As they gather the necessary information from a caller, other dispatchers are simultaneously notifying EMS, police, and if necessary, additional resources. The operator speaking with the caller will provide pre-arrival medical directions such as how to perform CPR, how to control bleeding, and childbirth instructions among other things. After they get the needed information they will dispatch the police and first aid squad, who will then respond to your emergency. The County Communication Center also works with MICCOM, MONOC and REMCS to coordinate the need for additional resources such as paramedics or aeromedical helicopters. It is always better to call 9-1-1 from a cordless landline phone as opposed to a cell phone if possible. If you call 9-1-1 from a cell phone, your call may initially be answered by a different 9-1-1 center, who will then transfer your call to the Morris County Communication Center. It is important to stay calm, speak clearly, and follow the dispatcher's advice.
Q: How much does it cost to use the ambulance?
A: It is FREE to use the Chester First Aid Squad. The squad is all volunteer and does not charge for any of its services.
Q: I called for an ambulance and the police also showed up. Why?
A: The Chester Borough or Township police are always dispatched concurrently with the squad. Many of the police officers are certified EMT's and can initiate medical care before the squad arrives. They are also there to ensure the safety of our members.
Q: An emergency vehicle with red lights/sirens is approaching my vehicle. What should I do?
A: Vehicles in either direction are required by law to immediately pull to the right edge of the roadway and come to a full and complete stop. This clears the roadway and allows the emergency vehicle(s) to safely and quickly continue its response. Please avoid stopping at the top of a hill or on a blind curve, and when you pull over keep in mind that there may be more than one emergency vehicle.
Q: What if I a see a vehicle with flashing blue lights?
A: Volunteer members of First Aid Squads and Fire Departments are issued flashing blue lights for their personal vehicles to allow them to quickly respond to calls. If you see flashing blue lights, you are required by law pull to the right side of the road and stop completely so that our members can continue on their way to answering someone's emergency call.
Q: I sometimes see an SUV or another ambulance following your ambulance, what is that?
A: Frequently the first aid squad utilizes a system known at Advance Life Support (ALS). ALS consists of two paramedics that carry all sorts of life saving medicine and equipment that exceeds the capabilities of the first aid squad. The primary ALS units for Chester are provided by Saint Clare’s Health System and Atlantic Health System. Typically one paramedic will be in the ambulance, and the other will follow behind in their vehicle.
Q: When do you use a helicopter?
A: The first aid squad uses an aeromedical helicopter when a person’s injuries or illness requires a higher degree of care and faster transport. The helicopter’s advantage over ground transport is the speed of transport to a specialty hospital. The flight crew of the helicopter consists of at least a pilot, nurse and paramedic. The primary helicopters used in this area are the State Police’s NorthSTAR and Atlantic Health System's Air One.
Q: What hospitals do you transport to?
A: Morristown Medical Center (Trauma Center), Saint Clare’s Hospital - Dover, Saint Clare’s Hospital - Denville, Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, Somerset Medical Center, Overlook Medical Center and Saint Barnabas Medical Center (Burn Center).
Q: I'm interested in joining the squad. What should I do?
A: Click the "Join Us" tab to learn about the process and submit your information to our Membership Committee.
Q: How much time does it take to be a member?
A: Each member class requires a different amount of time required to stay active. EMT’s, drivers, crew and cadets must run a minimum of 32 calls per year, run a nightly duty team and take the minimum training to maintain their certification. Each member is encouraged to attend monthly training sessions as well as monthly meetings.
Q: How long is an EMT course?
A: The current NJ EMT curriculum was just increased to approximately 220 hours , which includes 10 hours of clinical hospital time. Once an EMT, you have 5 years to re-certify which consists of acquiring 24 Core continuing education units (CEU’s) and 24 Elective CEU’s.
Q: What happens if no one is around to respond to calls?
A: The squad has a series of agreements with other first aid and rescue squads in the area that states if our squad is unable to respond or needs extra equipment/man power, a neighboring town will respond to fill the void. This system is known as “mutual aid”. The Chester First Aid Squad offers the same support to other agencies in their time of need.
Q: Are you a member of the New Jersey State First Aid Council?
A: Yes, the Chester First Aid Squad is a member of the 8th district of the NJSFAC.
Q: What is LOSAP?
A: LOSAP stands for Length of Service Awards Program, which is an incentive program that assigns point values to members each year based on their activity level. If certain point levels are reached, the municipality deposits a predetermined amount of money into a retirement type account.
Q: What is a Vial of Life?
A: The Vial of Life is a free program the squad offers to members of the community. Residents are given a form which they fill out with all of their medical history, medications, allergies, etc. and are instructed to leave it on their refrigerator. This way, should the resident become unconscious or otherwise incapacitated, we have access to this vital information when we arrive.
Q: How do I arrange for a transport?
A: We are happy to provide this service in advance, if we can secure the required personnel. Please contact the CHIEF of the squad regarding scheduling a transport.
Q: How do I make a donation?
A: Your generous donations enable us to provide cutting edge care. Please visit our Donate section for more information