March 28, 1979
Aid squad gets daytime boost
by Pam Hersh
Princeton University and Princeton Medical Center have initiated a policy of allowing their employees who are volunteer Princeton First Aid Squad members to answer working day emergency calls.
The action by these two institutions, according to squad president Joe Dermen, is an important step toward solving the squad’s severe working day manpower shortage which has prevented the squad from providing Princeton residents with adequate first aid coverage.
HOWEVER. MR. Dermen said, “It is not fair to place the whole burden of first aid care upon these two institutions. It is time for the municipalities (Princeton Borough and Princeton Township) to face up to their responsibilities and give the adequate funds to enable us to hire two fulltime paramedics for daytime
coverage. How can we expect the hospital or university to pay for emergency medical service for the entire Princeton community?”
Township and borough representatives and squad members have been discussing the manpower problem for the past several months. The only result of the discussions has been a suggested course of action to lobby Princeton employers to allow their employees time-off for First Aid Squad emergency duties.
Neither the township nor the borough has come forth with any financial assistance for the squad. Squads from surrounding municipalities receive financial support from the governing bodies. Lawrence Township, Hamilton, Ewing and Trenton also have paid personnel on their rescue squads.
Two weeks ago John Kauffman, president of the board of trustees at Princeton Medical Center, suggested a possible First Aid Squad takeover by the medical center when he became irate about the squad’s inability to respond consistently to daytime emergency calls.
In Mr. Dcrmen’s opinion, a hospital takeover is not the best solution because it would result in higher health care costs for the residents.
“THE HOSPITAL would have to charge for day-time emergency transport if its own employees were used for First Aid Squad services. It would be demoralizing to the squad members to see people being charged for the first aid service. It is important to us to continue to provide these vital services at no cost,” he said.
A Blue Cross official reported the cost of health care transportation is not covered under a basic Blue Cross plan, but is covered under special group, major medical plans.
“I don’t know what the hospital would have to charge, but I do know that private ambulance costs are
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exorbitant. It would be a great shame if the public were forced to pay these expenses.” said Mr. Derm en.
If two paramedics were hired with municipal money, the squad’s services would remain “free, in other words, all the residents would share the cost of first aid services equally,” said squad Capt. Edwin Obert.
BOROUGH COUNCILMAN Richard Woodbridge had commented at one of the squad – borough – township meetings about a possible loss of pride among the squad’s membership if the municipalities had financial control over the squad. But Mr. Obert said the issue is saving lives, not pride.
“I told Mr. Woodbridge the towns could have the squad, if that’s what it took to have effective daytime emergency coverage,” Mr. Obert said.
On March 25 at 5 p.m. at the hospital, representatives from the Borough Council, the Township Committee, the First Aid Squad, the hospital administration and the hospital medical staff will meet to discuss ways of giving the Princeton community consistent and continuous first aid squad services.
VAN ENGINE CATCHES FIRE: The rear engine of this 1964 VW van caught fire Saturday while the owner, identified by police as Charles Gannon of New York City, was working on it. Police said the fire erupted when Mr. Gannon started the engine. Eight members of Hook & Ladder responded and extinguished the blaze. The van had been parked in a private drive at 735 Prospect Avenue.
(Tom Graves photo)
March 28, 179
MATTRESS FIRE At Princeton House. A patient at Princeton House off Herrontown Road fell asleep last week while smoking a cigarette, which burned a hole in the mattress.
An orderly and security guard, police said, were able to drag the smoldering mattress outside and extinguish it.
An alarm was sounded at 12:15 Monday morning for a fire at Foulke Hall on the university campus.
Police said an overloaded electrical connection ignited a stuffed sofa and chair but they were pulled from the room by proctors and extinguished. There was no one in the room at the time.
Smoke from the fire was blown out by fans set up by firemen.
BURGLAR IS BLAMED
For Greenway Terrace Fire. A burglar attempting to break into a home at 45 Greenway Terrace a week ago is believed to have started a, fire in the home which caused considerable damage.
Lt. Norman Servis of the Township police this week said that an investigation that he had conducted with Mercer County Fire Marshall John Lee, Robert Kearstan and, Andrew Snellgrove of the State Police arson squad lead them to believe the fire started as a result of an attempted break-in and accidental arson.
Lt. Servis said they believe the burglar punched in a window pane in the darkened house – the owners were asleep upstairs – but found the window covered with heavy drapes and a lower drape on a rod. The window shade had been pulled down.
Because the window latch was offset to one side and not in the center where it normally is, the burglar, police believe, in fumbling around trying to find it, struck a match and accidentally set the drapes and curtains on fire.
“There was no ignition point, whatsoever,” said Lt. Servis. “The room was not used.” There was nothing of any electrical or gas origin in the room which could have malfunctioned and led to a fire.
The investigators also found a large rock beneath the window. In checking, they found the owner was a meticulous lawn keeper and the rock was not there previously. They also found pieces of glass beneath the window that was clear, with no heat distortion or smoke smears — indicating the window had been broken before the fire started.