Fifty years ago, in June of 1967, the present-day Randolph Rescue Squad, Inc., was formally established as an independent, non-profit volunteer rescue and first aid association designed solely to serve the entire Township of Randolph. Here in New Jersey, volunteer rescue and first aid organizations, including RRS, are required to operate in accordance with regulations set forth by the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services. These tough rules pertain to approved and certified rigorous training of volunteer members, mandated vehicle inspections, specified health care equipment, and adherence to official record-keeping and reporting guidelines set forth by the NJDOHSS.
The roots of our organization go further back than our incorporation 50 years ago. In 1942, the Mt. Freedom Fire Company #3, still located on Millbrook Avenue, included the Mt. Freedom Rescue Squad, and a few years later, in 1947, the Millbrook Fire Company #2 on Route 10, formed a second and separate entity known as the Millbrook Rescue Squad. Neither group served the whole Township. During the next few decades, State-mandated operational regulations and membership training requirements became increasingly complex. The time had arrived for a fully independent and compliant Township rescue squad to emerge.
Over the years Randolph has grown from a small rural community to its present suburban population of over 26,000 residents. Our 20+ square mile community includes homes, apartments, six public schools with over 5000 students enrollment, assisted living complexes, and group homes, senior housing buildings, the County College of Morris, industrial parks, business establishments, shopping areas, a major highway, and even a few remaining farms.
Likewise, the Randolph Rescue Squad has grown from its original one-vehicle garage on Route 10 to three bays: Headquarters on Rte.10 plus satellite bays at Town Hall and on Dover Chester Road adjacent to Ironia School. A few of you may even remember when we had a small garage on the original Town Hall property on Old Brookside Rd. More recently, we occupied a bay at the Shongum Fire House for a few years. At present, the Squad maintains four ambulances and a fire rehab vehicle. The Township itself owns the Squad vehicles. When an ambulance is replaced, it may be traded-in or, in some instances, it has been converted for use by the Police Department or the DPW.
Today, as in the past, the Squad’s primary goal is to provide emergency assistance within our community on a volunteer basis. A majority of our residents work out of town, out of the county, and even out of state, resulting in an ever-dwindling pool of volunteers. Like most other volunteer squads across the nation, Randolph Rescue Squad has found it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain members, particularly those who are available during daytime weekday coverage. Therefore, for the past several years, the Township has contracted for weekday/daytime ambulance emergency care coverage with St. Clare’s EMS. The paid EMTs have been providing the necessary care during the hours when volunteers are in short supply. Evenings, overnight, and weekend service continues to be handled by our RRS volunteers. This shared arrangement is working well to the benefit of residents and volunteers alike.
Much has changed since the RRS was created in June of 1967. For example, 21st Century volunteers must know much, much more about delivering emergency care, as well as understanding and following regulations. Keeping current with new equipment and techniques as well as maintaining and renewing official EMT certification means that volunteers must attend many training classes and pass rigorous tests. Quite recently, the Squad has welcomed Junior Corps members – teenagers who share their enthusiasm with all of us as they train to become the next generation of dedicated EMT volunteers. Several years ago, back in 2009, construction of a larger Headquarters on the Route 10 site was completed. Squad members and Township officials worked cooperatively and diligently on this project. The structure houses the much larger and newer vehicles that meet NJDOHSS requirements. Plus, there is ample room for holding meetings, storing records, and conducting EMT training classes.
Fortunately, some very important facts have not changed! We volunteers have always been men and women dedicated to helping our neighbors, friends, and visitors just passing through the Township. We deliver care in private homes, at business locations, on the scenes of traffic accidents, on fire calls, on athletic fields, along the trails,in our schools, at the Country Fair and the 4th of July Parade, in any kind of weather, and in every season of the year. Some calls relate to less severe illnesses and injuries whereas others can be major and even life-threatening. Most importantly, throughout our 50 years of existence, community support for us has remained constant. Each and every year has brought generous donations from residents and businesses as well as budgeted funding from the Township. We are grateful.
What does the future hold? The Randolph Rescue Squad hopes and wishes and intends to remain active and helpful for many years to come. History marches on!