11 July 1979
Police offer daytime first aid squad help
by Pam Hersh
The Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad is considering a proposal from the borough police for police handling of daytime emergency ambulance calls.
Borough Police Chief Michael Carnevale officially made the offer at last week’s Borough Council meeting, at which time the borough made a unanimous motion of intention to commit some funds from its 1980 budget toward paid daytime First Aid Squad personnel.
THE POLICE assistance would be only an interim solution to the squad’s daytime manpower shortage, said Chief Carnevale. The Princeton Township Committee is meeting tonight, Wednesday, to discuss the township’s role in financing paid squad personnel.
Under the police proposal, the First Aid Squad would park its first-line ambulance (Lifemoble) at Borough Hall during daytime working hours, during which time borough police personnel would handle all emergency calls.
The squad reaction to the police plan has been one of grateful thanks mixed with apprehension about the police’s ability to handle the First Aid Squad’s function during the daytime.
“The proposal is a generous one and I am sure a sincere attempt to deal with a difficult daytime coverage problem. Although relatively uncomplicated in concept, it raises many questions that will need to be addressed before a decision can be
reached,” said Joe Dermen, president of the squad.
The difficult questions to which Mr. Dermen was referring concern: liability insurance; coincident police and first aid emergencies; training the police to handle the emergency equipment on the ambulance; state certification of the police as ambulance attendants; the squad’s role in daytime emergencies.
“Although there are problems that have to be worked out, the police solution meets the need the First Aid Squad has been advocating — that of providing the same quality daytime coverage which we provide in the evening.
“If it helps the community, I am in favor of it. But we must recognize that the police proposal is only temporary and cannot be looked at as a final answer to the daytime manpower problem,*’ said Edwin Obert, captain of the squad.
THE SQUAD members will meet next Monday night to vote on the police plan. “I really can’t say how the men will vote. We are dealing with the prides of dedicated volunteers,” said Mr. Obert.
At last week’s Borough Council meeting, Mr. Dermen said the police proposal must not provide an excuse for the municipalities to delay action on the recommendations of the Joint First Aid Squad Committee. Such a delay would be “irresponsible,” said Mr. Dermen.
In response to the squad’s plea for a sign of municipal financial commitment to paid squad personnel, the borough approved the following motion: “In 1980. the borough and the township will provide at least partial funding of the squad’s paramedic and emergency medical technician requirements.”
According to Councilman Richard Woodbridge, who is also chairman of the Joint First Aid Squad Committee, the motion does not commit the borough to its share of full municipal funding of the squad personnel.
However, said Mr. Woodbridge, “the motion is a clear signal from the borough that it will provide some portion of the money needed to man the squad during the daytime hours. The wording of the motion serves as a mandate for the First Aid Squad Committee to search for other sources of funding (sources other than the municipalities) for the squad personnel.”
The joint squad committee is looking into obtaining funds from CETA, HEW and private foundations.