Maplewood Squad Needs Volunteers and Cash

Without the public's help to get more personnel and donations, the First Aid Squad could shut down, organizers warn.

When First Aid Squad Capt. Bruce Mandel died from a massive heart attack last year, it was demoralizing blow to the Maplewood First Aid Squad, volunteers say.

After he died, some volunteers resigned and new people had not yet taken over, explained squad President LaVerne Peterson.

As a result, the squad has had to cut back on its hours and manpower. Now, the squad responds to calls five days a week, instead of seven.

So the Maplewood First Aid Squad – which is funded entirely by donations - is asking the public for financial and personnel support.

Peterson said the squad’s most pressing issue right now is raising money for radios. A single radio costs $1,500 and the squad needs four.

According to Peterson, it cost about $30,000 to run the squad last year, which was reduced from its previous budget of $46,000.

Peterson said the squad also needs new members. It has 20 now and needs between seven and 10 more. “If we could find people who are already EMTs,” she said, “that would be perfect.”

Peterson described morale of the squad being at an all-time low after Mandel’s death. “He was Superman,” she said.

With the reduced number of days the squad is available, the fire department will respond to emergencies on other days and the person who needs medical services will be billed for it.

“When you’re having trouble breathing or a heart issue, time is critical,” said Peterson. “When we’re coming to you, you’re not getting billed, we’re not taking a Social Security number. When it’s outsourced, they’re getting your information before you get on the stretcher. People don’t realize that because people in [Maplewood] don’t get billed; we will never bill.”

She said without enough donations the squad would be forced to shut down. Peterson said that could mean a longer response time for personnel responding to emergencies, because the calls could be outsourced to another town.

She encouraged anyone interested in volunteering to contact the squad through its website, maplewoodfirstaid.org

She said interested volunteers may be allowed to do a ride-along and see what a typical shift is like.

You can donate to the squad here.

Awillis July 11, 2012 at 01:14 PM
i think the squad has done a complete turnaround since bruce's death. i see or hear of more community outreach events the squad offers. i have participated in their sponsored coat drives, feed the hungry and blood drives. however, more support is needed from the community. Laverne is doing an excellent job and Maplewood should join her in her effort.
Dawud Muhammad July 11, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Front line HEROS are the life line to an successful outcome of any person seeking immediate medical attention. it would be a devastating blow to the Maplewood community to see this squad go under. This is not another Obama or Romney medical bill rhetorics...about what they would do. It's about the true Hero's of the Maplewood First Aid Squad, who help save lives. Help the squad keep up the highest level of care for you are someone close to you. It could be as simple as donating what you would spend for your favorite beverage to support their goal. I'm the proud father of LaVerne responding from Virginia. She really cares for the squad and for people from all walks of life. Way to go Laverne!
Jennifer Muhammad July 11, 2012 at 01:54 PM
LaVerne goes above and beyond to support Maplewood First Aid Squad. She believes in trying her best to help anyone that needs immediate medical attention. She has great ideas to improve and make Maplewood First Aid Squad one of the best squads in the state. I admire your loyalty, drive, commitment and love for what you do. Continue to keep that beautiful spirit and positive attitude.
VolunteerZ July 11, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Do Maplewood residents realize that when the MFAS is NOT on duty, the fire department (MFD) responds to calls? That leaves the fire department short-handed if there is a fire -- they are unable to deploy both engines because they are short on manpower. MFD receives funds from the township -- MFAS does NOT.
Flavio Luna July 11, 2012 at 05:55 PM
That's a fairly anemic budget. I despise tax increases but it seems to me that the Township could cover that budget with a minimal tax increase. That, or it could be revenue neutral by cutting a position in the Township. Provided that the force remains volunteer, I'd be in favor of the Township covering it's annual budget, subject to restraints.


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