Lifemobile No Longer Stationed in Princeton

The Princeton Packet

21 March, 1986

Lifemobile No Longer Stationed in Princeton

Myrna X. Bearse

There is no longer a lifemobile stationed in Princeton. Early this week, the recently inaugurated county Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) program moved its lifemobile and crew out of the Valley Road building and into more spacious quarters at the Princeton Junction Volunteer Fire Company building on Clarksville Road.

This is the third move for the lifemobile and its 24-hour-a-day crew since the Helene Fuld-administered MICU program began late last year. It was first stationed at Princeton Medical Center and, after a short time, moved to Valley Road.

The county program, which dispatches lifemobiles out of three locations, has effectively replaced the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad’s lifemobile program. While the Princeton squad had not charged for the use of its ambulance equipped with advanced life-saving support equipment, the county program charges $350. The Princeton First Aid Squad, however, still provides all other rescue squad services without a fee.

In discussions prior to the county takeover of the lifemobile program, it appeared to be a given that Princeton would be the site of one lifemobile. With the rig now in West Windsor, experts estimate that this will add at least five to seven minutes of response time.

“I think this is a definite disadvantage for people in the Princeton area,” said Mark Freda, former president of the Princeton Squad. “The county originally selected Princeton because it was an optimum spot. Now the response time, which is vital, has been lengthened.”

Although the territories covered by the three units sometimes change with the availability of rigs, the lifemobile now in West Windsor generally serves Princeton Borough, Princeton Township, West Windsor, Plainsboro, the southern half of Montgomery Township, and Hopewell.

Mary Ann Henderson, captain of the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad and a paid

paramedic with the county MICU program, said that the two-person crew had to leave Princeton Hospital because the space allotted to it was too small. “It was pretty difficult for two persons to be based there, and there was no space near the emergency room,” she said. “The unit left after a week.”

At Valley Road, she said the crew shared quarters with the bus drivers. “It was the drivers’ facility and it was too small,” said Ms. Henderson. “But then even this space was no longer available and no additional space was found. We were asked to leave.”

At the Medical Center, Director of Public Relations Jane Kerney said the MICU crew was given space to fill out forms but that quarters were tight.

“We feel they should be here working with us on an ongoing basis, and we are distressed they are not,” she said. “We want them here at the Medical Center, and if they called we’d get them space to share.”

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