In 2001, Princeton University donated an American LaFrance MedicMaster ambulance built on a Freightliner truck chassis. The ambulance it replaced was converted to a Special Services unit to carry equipment for Mass Casualty Incidents, and provide personnel rehabilitation at fire scenes and other large-scale responses. That same year, the Squad replaced its water rescue craft with a Zodiac inflatable boat, 50 horsepower motor and rapid deployment trailer for $12,500. In 2002 the first response vehicle was replaced by another former police car, and a year later the Mack rescue truck was replaced with a safer, larger Pierce Enforcer Stainless Steel Rescue Truck for $430,000.
PFARS began hosting EMT-Basic training courses in 2003. New members trained through this class have found they are more quickly able to orient themselves to Squad operations and earn promotions within our system. The year 2003 marked the first time the call volume surpassed 2,000, as the Squad answered 2,113 calls for service.
In order to meet its growing operating budget, the Squad began billing patients’ insurance carriers in January 2006. At the same time, Princeton Borough and Township capped their contributions to the Squad that had defrayed the cost of paying day crews, reduced them further in 2009, and subsequently stopped contributing to Squad operations.
With a multi-year trend of call volume increasing at 10% per year, changes to the Squad Day Crew program were needed. In 2007, a third paid day crew member was added, extending the day crew schedule from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Faced with increased demands on the time of its volunteer officers to run the organization, the Squad hired a paid Director of Operations in January, 2007. The first (and current) Director of Operations is Frank Setnicky, a 30-year member of the squad. With call volumes continuing to rise, the Squad added a second day crew in July 2008, bringing to five the number of full-time EMTs.
On April 28, 2007, the Squad became the first basic life support agency in New Jersey to use a non-prescribed auto-injecting epinephrine syringe (“Epi Pen®”) to save the life of a two-year-old boy who had a severe allergic reaction to peanuts. The call took place just eight days after the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad became one of the first agencies in the state authorized to carry the devices.
In 2008, the Squad replaced two of its ambulances with new ones built on a Ford chassis by Horton Emergency Vehicles. The combined cost for the vehicles was $335,789.
Also in 2008, the Squad was named Outstanding Public EMS Agency by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Office of Emergency Medical Services. The Squad was recognized for its extensive training program, dedicated personnel, and capabilities in emergency medical and technical rescue services.