12 Jun EMTs honored by Princeton officials
by Lea Kahn, Princeton Packet
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When there is a medical emergency, every second counts – and Princeton residents have learned that they can rely on the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad’s emergency medical technicians to come to their aid. That’s why Princeton Council honored the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad’s top three responding emergency medical technicians – all volunteers – at its June 10 meeting.
“Nine times a day, the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad responds to calls,” Councilman Tim Quinn said. Do the math and that’s more than 3,000 calls for help every year – and they arrive in about 5 minutes after getting the call, he said.
Of those 3,000-plus calls, top responder Lana Musa handled more than 400 calls for help, and Elizabeth Blizzard went out on more than 350 calls. Neil Havkin responded to more than 200 calls to help people, said Mark Freda, president of the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad. “They put in a lot of hours,” Freda said.
The trio are among the 100 volunteer emergency medical technicians who give their time to the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad. In addition to the volunteers, the organization is staffed by nine career emergency medical technicians daytime during the week. “It is important to us that we get public recognition now and then,” Freda said.
The Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad handles medical emergencies that range from heart attacks to respiratory emergencies, allergic reactions, childbirth and traumatic injuries. Rescue technicians respond to car crashes and water rescues.
The Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad has its origins in Princeton Engine Co. No. 1, which is one of three volunteer fire companies that make up the Princeton Fire Department. In 1938, Princeton Engine Co. No. 1 created a first aid committee to provide first aid training to its members, and began operating two years later out of the Princeton Engine Co. No. 1 firehouse on Chestnut Street, according to www.pfars.org.
Although the members of the First Aid Unit, as it was originally known, were volunteer firefighters, it began to accept non-firefighters during World War II. The First Aid Unit was renamed the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad in 1957. Soon, the group needed more space. It built its present headquarters on the corner of N. Harrison Street and Clearview Avenue and moved from the Princeton Engine Co. No. 1 firehouse in 1963.
Now, it has outgrown the N. Harrison Street location and is preparing to move into its new headquarters – currently under construction – on the corner of Valley Road and Mount Lucas Road.
While the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad relies on its 100-plus volunteers and nine career emergency medical technicians, there is still a need for more volunteer emergency medical technicians. That’s why a joint recruitment drive is under way for volunteer emergency medical technicians for the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad and for volunteer firefighters for the Princeton Fire Department.