To the Editor:
As we’ve done many times in the past eight decades, New Jersey’s EMS volunteers jumped to the aid of their northern neighbors Jan. 18 when calls for help during the ice storm overwhelmed New York City’s 911 system.
Volunteers from several New Jersey State First Aid Council-affiliated squads spent hours answering calls in NYC as EMS responders struggled to keep up with the demand. The 86-year-old nonprofit New Jersey State First Aid Council (NJSFAC) represents more than 20,000 EMS volunteers affiliated with 300 squads statewide.
We’ve done this many times, particularly in New York and Pennsylvania, when disasters inundated responder resources. Our extraordinarily dedicated volunteer base enabled us to ensure 911-system coverage for our own hard-hit municipalities and still provide help in NYC. NJSFAC volunteers also crossed state lines in recent years to help during blizzards, hurricanes, the “Miracle on the Hudson” plane landing and both World Trade Center attacks.
New Jersey’s own Homeland Security officials have affirmed publicly that without its strong volunteer EMS base, this state would be unable to provide adequate disaster response. Without a doubt, our EMS volunteers proved that to be true before, during and after Hurricane Sandy, and again during this recent ice storm.