Kickoff at Chilangos in Highlands on September 22, 2013 from 12 PM to 6 PM
Highlands NJ, September 14, 2013: Aged by time and ravaged by Sandy, the Highlands First Aid Squad (HFAS) ambulances are in desperate need of replacement. At a Fund Raiser sponsored by Chilangos on Sunday, September 22nd, the HFAS will start raising the funds necessary to replace their ambulances. Starting at Noon, and going to 6PM, the Chilangos’ parking lot at 272 Bay Ave. in Highlands will be transformed into a celebration of community support for the Highlands First Aid Squad with food, music, and entertainment.
As was most of Highlands, the HFAS was devastated by Superstorm Sandy. Over 6 feet of water in the First Aid Building – and until 3 weeks ago, only enough power for 1 light and 2 shorelines to charge the ambulances when not in use, no running water and no A/C. All but 3 members’ homes either significantly damaged or have completely destroyed. The building now has limited running water and electricity, but still no A/C and, with winter approaching, no heat. All of the supplies, the oxygen refill system, and much of the “portable” equipment such as radios, pagers, etc. have been ruined during the flooding, the evacuations and all the various moves.
But the HFAS is back in their building – still with no A/C or heat, yet morale is high and HFAS is still serving our community. With over 130 rescues made during Sandy, the HFAS is responding to calls even now while members are still displaced; many in neighboring towns. While efforts continue to start the rebuilding process, the rigs have taken a beating as the sole “residence” until just a few months ago as the building was off-limits. A beating that reached a breaking point when both failed – leaving the HFAS to rely on mutual aid from Sandy Hook.
With Borough support, our repair facility provided a loaner ambulance which kept the HFAS available to protect the residents of Highland. One ambulance is 20 years old with age taking its toll. Both were severely impacted as Sandy’s waters destroyed the building, forcing both ambulances out into the elements to be used both as response vehicles and “storerooms” for medical supplies and equipment. Add damage due to driving through the muddy and salty flood waters and both broke down. The newer ambulance was repaired and returned to service but will require constant, costly maintenance until replaced. The older ambulance must be retired immediately as it may not be cost-effective to repair, the loaner must be returned soon, and so its replacement is time critical.