Captain Of Lakewood First Aid Squad Writes

lakewood first aid patchDear Editor,
On Thursday February 11th you posted a story about Classy Cleaners roof collapsing that occurred during the snowstorm Wednesday night. One of the comments posted on that story inspired me to write the following and I have also copied the comment here for all to see followed by my thoughts. ff/emt says: February 11, 2010 at 11:50 pm As the article stated, “Multiple FD, PD and EMS units are on scene”, what it didn’t say was when the incident became stable, the volunteers of the Lakewood First Aid Squad had used their personal vehicles to block off the road, freeing up some LPD officers for the many calls that were mounting. This happened on more than one occasion. My reason for stating this fact is because, for every action, there is a reaction. Obviously everybody knows by now of the fight to save the EMS department. But people are taking for granted that the Volunteers will not be affected. However, that is a fallacy. If a private entity comes into this, our home, and provides EMS for a fee, not to the township, but to the residents, why in the name of business would they offer to allow the volley’s to do it for free? This entity, which ever it may be, will already be loosing money on the townships’ homeless population, not to mention the undocumented citizens. There are many indigent people who also live among us.If the new entity has 1 call or 4, they will pull from their fleet of ambulances, with no need or desire of Mutual Aid, i.e., the Lakewood First Aid Squad. How long can an organization exist with no monies being generated. The Lakewood First Aid Squad depends on the monies from fund drives to operate; they do not receive a stipend from the township. If they are not servicing the citizens of the township, what is the purpose of donating to them? That is a sad statement but understood in today’s economy. If the Lakewood First Aid Squad shuts its doors, so closes the doors on the Extrication Abilities of the township. Just one more service that will be lost because of privatization. Will you stand by and listen, knowing that there is nothing you can do for the accident victims that would have to wait (with victims undoubtedly in excruciating pain) for mutual aid to arrive from a neighboring town in order to be cut out of a vehicle? There is no doubt that the Lakewood First Aid Squad is a vital part in the Emergency Medical System of this township and without it, more hardships on our citizens and those who travel through this town will arise. I am not running in the street yelling that the sky is falling; I am only stating a fact… Without the Lakewood Township EMS, there will be no Lakewood First Aid Squad. The time is now for your voice to be heard. Let not just Mr. Langert know we need to keep the EMS Department, but let all the Township Committee Members know. We elected the committee to do what is right for this, OUR town, OUR home and this is what is right.

Dear Residents, Neighbors, and Friends

It is well known by now that the Lakewood Township Committee is going ahead with their attempt to disband the Lakewood Emergency Medical Services (LEMS). What is not commonly known is that there is another emergency service team that operates in town. This team is known as the Lakewood First Aid & Emergency Squad (LFAS). The two entities are technically separate though they work side by side and train together on a daily basis. LEMS is run by the township while LFAS is its own incorporated entity.
I would like to share with you a little history of the squad and what they do, and then I will explain my concerns as well as those of my fellow squad members as hinted to in the comment letter posted above.

The Lakewood First Aid and Emergency Squad was formed January 16, 1933 under the name Lakewood American Legion First Aid Squad, as we were affiliated with the American Legion at that time. In 1939 we took on the name we currently use, Lakewood First Aid and Emergency Squad. The squad was located on First Street between Monmouth and Lexington Avenues, until 1992, at which time we moved to our current location, 1555 Pine Street. Since our inception, we have been providing unparalleled emergency care to the town and its residents by highly trained and experienced Emergency Service Providers. In 1979, the Township started the Township of Lakewood Department of Emergency Medical Services otherwise known as the Lakewood EMS Department. The reason for starting Lakewood EMS was to bring faster and better care to the town as Lakewood EMS would be ready to respond to emergencies at a moment’s notice, unlike VOLUNTEERS who have to leave their home or work to respond. The Lakewood First Aid and Emergency Squad has remained as the primary backup to Lakewood EMS. When Lakewood EMS is providing Emergency Medical Services and another call should arise the Lakewood First Aid and Emergency Squad would respond. The Lakewood First Aid and Emergency Squad would be what is known as “hit out” for the call by the Lakewood Police Dispatchers using a plectron toning system that would alert a pager. If a member is available to respond to the call he would call into police headquarters by telephone, telling them they are responding. Now we use a very similar system but we all carry two-way radios so that we can communicate with the dispatchers and one another directly.

The Lakewood First Aid and Emergency Squad provide many essential services to cover the needs of our town. Our primary job is high quality patient care, motor vehicle and industrial extrication, Police and Fire standby and mutual aid to our surrounding towns and continuous training. We as volunteers give up endless hours of our time giving back to the town. Many dinners have been interrupted, nights go sleepless, or we have to skip family gatherings or events to fulfill this job that we VOLUNTEER for.

If the township does do away with LEMS who will provide extrication for the town?
Who will help train our new members that now work and train with the employees of LEMS that each have close to 25 years of EMS experience, and many of whom are paramedics as well?

What the township committee doesn’t realize is that by getting rid of LEMS they are inadvertently getting rid of LFAS too.

I have noticed recently that many organizations in town have been getting recognition for what they do and I applaud them and thank them for their dedication. What is not known is that our members were out in Wednesday night’s storm as well as the snow we had last Friday night. Going on many calls, transporting frum members of OUR community to the hospital on Friday night so that they don’t have to drive in the snow, than going to pick up the midwife so the patient would feel more comfortable and at ease. We don’t need the recognition but it’s nice to know we are appreciated by the townspeople.

All we ask is the WHOLE town supports Lakewood First Aid and Emergency Squad and the Lakewood EMS Department. The decision made by the Township Committee has an impact on us all whether directly or indirectly. Please attend the Township Committee meetings. Call and/or write the committeemen. Your voice does make a difference.

Many articles and comments have been written in the past anonymously but I feel proud to put my name to this.

Respectfully,

Meir Neumann – Captain LFAS

(To view original letter, click here.)

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36 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t mind the EMS per say.. I just mind their fat pensions & benefits.. If they want to keep their jobs then why are they so stubborn about keeping their hands in the pot of gold and refusing to come more inline with the private industry???

  2. Well said and I feel that Meir Newman spoke from the heart, and made very valid points. I would not want to be the Mayor (Langert) or other committee member in the event their decision led to someone dying or suffering over saving a few dollars. I am sure their are many ways to save dollars out there. Other venues need to be explored before we do away with services. In todays day and age I agree we must look at every amount we spend, but NEVER should we cut basic life saving services. Lets put aside personal differences, religions, politics and do what is right, and getting rid of EMS is not right.

  3. I think that since I am paying for their services, I would like to see some financial concessions on their end… It’s just not fair to paint the regular taxpayers as anti-EMS when all that’s needed is for them to try and compromise a bit.. I don’t even care if they get some more than the private companies.. but the big question is HOW MUCH MORE do we really want to pay for their extras?…

  4. Just to let the public know, an insider told me that concessions were made by the EMS people to the township. In the form of large paycuts and no raises for several years.

  5. Hi Meir and thanks for you incredible devotion
    I keep on noticing that the reason that the LFAS should be kept in place and not disbanded is bec of extrication and bec the private company wont need mutual aid
    on the first issue if you would be able to tell me in what year did the LFAS start doing the extrication it wasn’t to long ago that the fire department where the extrication unit in that case I don’t see any reason that the fire department cant take it back, maybe start a new rescue company that is reserved for extrication and let those on the first aid that are able to do extrication join the FD and money wont be an issue either as they seem to have an endless amount of money
    on the second point that they wont need mutual aid in your own words you are explaining the benefit of bringing in a private company “endless resources” never will they have to hit out for the volunteers I don’t see a problem with that if we are concerned about the citizens of Lakewood then the quick and unimpeded response of a private company like MONOC would be the best thing that ever happened to this town
    and if you insist on keeping the LFAS in service then you can take a look at Jackson twp they use quality medical transport from six in the morning till six at night the other 12 hours are covered by the JFAS so if you are ready to guaranty the coverage and response time that a private company can give then good keep it open but if you cant then the best thing for Lakewood would be to privatize every thing even the LFAS
    Respectfully a Lakewood resident

  6. To #9 – Lakewood Resident

    If I may, (I used to live in Jackson) – Jackson First Aid used to have volunteers 24/7. Most of the time it was manned by qualified women during the day as the men were working. At night the men were able to respond while the women stayed home, unless needed. Then taxes went up, along with everything else. The women, mostly wives, had to start working during the day to afford to live. There went the daytime volunteers. Jackson had no option except to go with a private company during the day.

  7. Its the township committee that does not want to work out a deal with the EMS, they just want to get rid of them. I ask who will be saving money? Not the people of lakewood, that would have to pay extra to the private company. By the way this means that Hatzolah, will have problems responding to calls, since the private company will complain, and want their calls also (it’s their business)

  8. To old timer

    Sounds good but why didn’t Jackson twp open up its own ems why did they bring in a private company ? Only one answer it doesent make sense to open an ems for the taxpayer and for the coverage you would get

  9. to#9 Get ur facts correct before u lead others down a wrong path. The l.f.d. never did any extrication. The fd may have been to many emergencies but as a support to lfas and only when requested. Get your facts straight. Or just learn to mind your own buisness.

  10. to #9—- AS A 20 PLUS YEAR MEMBER OF THE LAKEWOOD FIRE DEPARTMENT, WE NEVER DID EXTRACATION, EVER, WE MAY HAVE ASSISTED AT AN ACCIDENT SCENE, BUT NEVER DID ANY EXTRACATION….PLEASE KNOW YOUR FACTS PRIOR TO MAKING A STATEMENT.

  11. its amazing how most of the people think that what lakewood EMS does is the same as a PRIVATE SERVICE> The big question I have is.. On the side of all these private ambulance services vehicles, What does it say? Ill tell you.. Quality Medical TRANSPORT. ALERT TRANSPORT. GEM TRANSPORT. not one of these vehicles says EMS on the side of it like LAKEWOOD EMS does, so how can we all sit here and type about the money we spend on them when we cant even see the difference between the 2 types of service? I do know there is no difference between other services like GARBAGE? Why do these people not take pay rates like outside services like Waste Management, what about their pensions and salaries? What about the committee? If they are so concerned about finances, how come I havent seen them making any sacrifices of their own salaries? We had a govenor that worked for free. Dont expect others to give up what they make if you yourself are not willing to do the same. And dont give other departments outrageous raises then tell other departments they need to shut them down due to financial crisis? I just hope one day the truth behind all this comes out..We cant really beleive that a Life Saving Service is what put this town in debt!! It started somewhere else but it seems to me someone is trying to blame in on this department that most of us havent had to use. Thank G-D.. but if needed i would want this department here.. GREAT JOB MEIR!! You brought some great points to light, now sit back and watch people try to twist them around to make others look good. One other point i have.. How come if Township based EMS iss so bad. Why does HOWELL, BRICK and TOMS RIVER have them? oh wait according to last township meeting NOBODY else has their own EMS. what a great statement when its completely wrong.

  12. To # 9,
    The Lakewood American Legion First Aid Squad was founded back in January of 1930. The Squad has since that time served as the primary provider of extrication in any incident in Lakewood Township. That was until the paid EMS squad was instituted and Hotzola’s formation
    The Squad in 1955 bought it first true EXTRICATION unit that carried at the time the most up to date equipment in the county and used this unit until 1976 when a newer unit was purchased for the same purpose.
    AT NO TIME IN THE HISTORY OF THE LAKEWOOD FIRE DEPT (1888 to today’s date)did it ever do EXTRICATION -This was ALWAYS a function of the first aid squad.
    The fire dept is present at EXTRICATION calls when requested by the police/EMS Squads to stand by in case of a fire with a hose line at the ready when a vehicle, air plane ,or piece of machinery is being dismantled by the EMS units on location.

    As for the fire dept taking over- I don’t think its going to happen, They have enough on their plate with providing fire protection and answering 2000+ calls every year.

    This is a problem that the town fathers created and they will need to solve on their own

    The Captain is watching and hopes they make the right choice.

  13. The LEMS has been working with the township for many years.
    All of a sudden the township wants to get rid of them.
    The whole group has done an awsome job for many years.
    Your looking in the wrong direction. Find what the true source in where the money is being lost and go after them.
    Leave the LEMS alone.
    Years ago the Lakewood Board Fired there Bus Drivers. Did they save money? NO! You wont save any either if you let the LEMS go.
    ALOT of people dont pay taxes for one reason or another. WHY?
    I do and if we look into this further and start collecting some of this money, the township wont be in the hole and we can all get along and work together.

  14. dear # 4 1st the lakewood ems dept. is not FAT with saleries and pensions.. the ems dept has been doing this for 30 years and thier saleries were for while kept in line with what the police officers in town were making… so are the police saleries being questioned? NO is their pensions being questioned ? NO their not.. are the twp. public works employees pensions and saleries being questioned. NO their not…please dont write about what you don not know..

  15. As this drags on this is getting scarier & scarier. I know a lot of ppl have just one question. If the LEMS is disbanded, who is gonna stand watch when the medivac helicopter lands @ the Bnos Yaakov Health & Safety Fair @ 7th & Clifton on that Sunday in June ?? Get this done, guys. Don’t pitter-patter !!!

  16. brick is losing money. toms river is losing money. howell has only PART TIMERS with no benefits. stop the obfuscation. Lakewood is the only town in this area with this type of service, the full cost is enormous and while we love the EMS people, we cant afford it. we is outta cash. its food and shelter or the EMS. sorry guys, its uncomfortable, but we have to do it. as to the private contractors, howell, jackson, lacey all have private support that cooperates with their volunteers so why cant we? we will and it will be great. dont fear the change, it is good for you.

  17. Lakewood is hurting Financially! Then why did DPW hire 4 new employees and why did they get 4% raises across the board.
    The township has no money, come on if they didn’t have money then why did they do this.

  18. We would love to be in a position to support many wonderful causes – but the tax rates in this town are escalating insanely and making it impossible to make ends meet. my taxes quadrupled in the last five years, and we cannot hack it. Now they are talking about more tax raises – and i shudder to think about what we will do. Somebody has to watch the expenditures and they have to do it a lot better!

  19. The last big storm we had, i was told by a very good friend of mine, that one of the private companys that put in for a bid, could not convice there 18 and 19 year old workers to work, they wanted to go out and enjoy the storm, great. so whens the weather is bad ppl are gonna die bc the private company that pays $12 a hr. cant get a crew to save us. MR MAYOR AND COMMITTEE MAN ME AS A TAXPAYER, I WANT THE LEMS. WHY ARE YOU PUTTING US IN DANJER?? I DONT WANT TO RISK MY LIFE FOR A COUPLE OF $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. SAVE OUT LIVES SAVE THE LEMS. PIKUAH NEFESH IS AT RISK, EVEN US JEWS. WHEN GOD FORBID WE ARE INVOVLED IN A MVA AND WE CANT CALL HATOZLA, THEN WE WILL GET CRAZY BILLS AND CRAZY PHONE CALLS, OR EVEN DIE, FOR WHAT A COUPLE OF STUPID DALLORS. COME ON PPL WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE. SAVE A LIFE!!!!!! IF ONE PERSON DIES, IS IT WORTH IT?

  20. Okay since everyone is complaining about the taxes then lets end them! Lets outsource the DPW, EMS, Fire, and Police, Custodian Staff, Inspection Dept., etc… This will then end the taxes, how so, because the municipalities won’t have any salaries to pay, they wont need taxes to make up a budget, the private companies are paying the staff from the money that they are taking from us and then we will have half fast work being done.
    Think about it you want A++ work then you need to pay for it, you want average to poor work then don’t pay, suffer the consequences.

  21. Wanna save the township monney? Duh! just get rid of some inspectors or the whole dept. and we will save a lot of wasted money. Leave EMS alone!

  22. My father is a 20+ year Lakewood EMS worker. He has served his community (along side other wonderful EMS workers) and this is what he gets for being a faithful employee of Lakewood Township. It upsets me that people are saying that they get paid too much and thier pension and benifits are too much. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? My father has work for every penny of that money! He has (and the other members) placed his life in danger in order to help others and that should mean something. He deserves to be about to retire down the road without having to worry. Lakewood has turned into a bunch of greedy people who want to take the money out of hard working peoples hands. Lakewood NEEDS the EMS! I’m sure there are other ways of saving a couple bucks in Lakewood, goverment needs to look at the BIG picture instead of a quick fix!

  23. What are they nuts. They need to keep EMS working at all times. They don’t make enough if you ask me. I mean the ones that want them to go should realize this before they need to call for one and they don’t get the help they need. Take away some of their salaries. What is going on with Jersey lately. Leave these poor people alone, they put their lives on the line everyday to save us. EMS and EMT are an important job. They deserve to get paid and retire like the rest of us…Good luck ! Maybe someone needs to re-evaluate the people who question these jobs salaries and take it from them…

  24. Ok, I’ve read all of you and here are my thoughts.
    1) Meir Neumann – Captain LFAS needs to be part of ANY decision to do ANYTHING (cuts/pensions/add staff/run for mayor, etc) Because he is the ONLY one who has a clue in regards to running this business. Yes, LFAS and LEMS is a business . (no offense to you team members, you can help him 🙂 )
    2) The Mayor and all of those on council who wish to disband EMS must be REQUIRED to “donate” their time on (I’ll be nice) ONE MONTH worth of shifts with the LEMS.
    3) When that is completed and they now have a true clue to what these people do, THEN you can decide if YOU can force these people out of their jobs. I will personally be looking for YOU to take their place however, because as good as GEMS (or whoever) is in TRANSPORTING ME, I don’t want them pulling me out of wrecked vehicle.
    I have known most of these folk for well over 30 years (even before they staffed LEMS) and trust my LIFE and those of my family (and have!) to them.
    I know the budget is tight, it’s tight everywhere. You nip here, tuck there and you make the right choices to keep what works working.
    You can not just toss these individuals to the wind who have been doing an incredible, caring job.
    If they get cut or lose money, you better be ready to match them dollar for dollar!

  25. There is alot of underminding going on in Lakewood. Alot of money givin under the table to slide things thru. STOP the garbage and start getting money from people who dont pay taxes, the township people who we see eating lunch for hrs while parked. The over time the people who make tons of money to direct traffic. Theres alot we can do beside pick on the LEMS. Leave them alone already and go to where the real source is! Its Not them! #19 and 31 said it all.

  26. #26
    your right why did they (DPW) get 4% across the board but Lakewood is losing money. They collect garbage for goodness sake!! I see more of them sitting around then working but no one is watching so who cares.R YA KIDDIN ME!!!

    The LEMS saves LIVES! HELLO PEOPLE were going in the wrong direction for goodness sake. look inside the township house before going after the guys who really work for there money!

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