4 March 1981
Letters to the Editor
To the editor:
The following letter was sent to members of the Princeton Borough Council:
I am writing to you in reference to the apparent intention of the Borough Council to eliminate the paid paramedic service from the 1981-82 budget. I can understand and sympathize with the budget problems, the cap laws, the resistance to any referendum, etc., but I cannot understand the willingness of responsible government officials to eliminate a program that saves lives with little if any thought concern or discussion about what will replace this service.
The paramedics have proven themselves time and time again. Several borough citizens literally owe their lives to the fact that the paramedics were available and many others received various first aid treatment and assistance. The borough citizens accounted for half of all the calls in 1980. What do you propose to do to fill the void that will exist if you end the paid service?
Do you propose simply to return to the situation that existed before the paid people? The squad does not have enough members who work in the area to respond to daytime calls. Do you intend to simply depend on other communities to respond to calls in the borough on a regular basis? I hope not since other towns would expect Princeton to be able to respond to calls in their community if needed and we could not do so with our limited number of volunteer daytime personnel.
Possibly you expect donations to pick up the cost of the paid service. I again hope not. The people and corporations have been most generous in supporting the squad: but there is a limit. Last year we resorted to a special gifts campaign to supplement our normal donations in order to purchase our new ambulance. To repeat such a special initiative again this year would only serve to dilute the normal campaign that covers our operating and capital expenses.
Although we arc meeting our operating and capital expenses each year since 1975 it has been necessary for us to borrow approximately $2,500 to see us through the summer months until our fund drive started again. We are convinced that it would be impossible to increase our fund drive sufficiently to pay the salaries of the day crew.
In short I believe there are no really viable options available to the community if you choose to eliminate the paid service from the budget. I therefore would like to suggest that before you take this step you put the service of these two people into proper perspective: They save lives! How many others on the borough payroll can make this statement and support it with facts? How many positions have been budgeted that when put on a scale and weighed against the service our paramedics provide do not measure up? Do you think citizens, if they knew the facts, would not prefer or vote for paramedics rather than some of the other services the borough has so thoughtfully provided for in the budget?
Time is running out and we need answers. How will the community’s emergency medical service be provided?
Princeton First Aid and
To the editor
A copy of the following letter was sent to members of the Princeton Borough council:
We wish to go on record as asking you to continue the funding for the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squads’ paramedic program.
The Squad over the years has been very supportive to the Fire Department by providing needed services at fire scenes and rendering first aid care when needed. Some services include the air system for refilling our Scott air bottles, lighting at nighttime fires, setting up fire lines and most recently outfitting first aid kits, for the fire trucks. All of these items came at a cost to the First Aid Squad, but no cost to us, the Fire Department.
If the paramedic program were to stop, the availability of an ambulance during the day would be very doubtful. We have become used to seeing the paramedics at our daytime responses; it is reassuring to know the best in first aid care is present if needed.
The ending of this program will have serious consequences to everyone in the community. As already mentioned the slim chances for an ambulance during the day is very serious. Another outcome of the failure to renew this program would be the loss of the two paramedics now employed. These two men not only ride the ambulance during the day but also provide additional nighttime coverage. As recently as the Hughes residence fire, one of the paramedics helped a fireman overcome by smoke.
Firefighting can be very dangerous; in many situations prompt first aid is a necessity. The funding of this program must not be looked at from a financial viewpoint only, we are talking about help for the injured and saving lives. To remove this vital service would be tragic.
Ralph Hulit, Jr.
Princeton Fire Department