History of Eatontown EMS
In 1928 the weekend traffic really started becoming a major problem and accidents more frequent. In order to remove the injured to the nearest hospital, Chief Harry Kirkegard had to rely on the use of Art Cain's car. It was at this time that the wheels started turning and the men of our town gathered and talked about organizing a First Aid Squad.
On February 28, 1929, an accident occurred on Main Street just north of Tinton Avenue, resulting in the death of a 22 year old man and serious injury to his companion. Mr. Cain took the injured man to Riverview Hospital, then located on Broad Street, Red Bank. A Red Bank ambulance, which had been summoned for the other man, arrived too late to be of service. This was the accident that firmly established the need for an ambulance to serve our community. On March 3, 1929, a group of Eatontown's outstanding citizens and businessmen gathered together and organized the Eatontown Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Included in the group were Charles Breese, who became the squad's first President and G. Edward Smock who was named the Vice President. President Breese gave the squad a 1919 Chandler Chassis and later a body was purchased in Freehold. The squad then plunged into the task of converting these two items into a suitable ambulance. On May 30, 1929, it answered its first call, an accident on Tinton Avenue near the railroad bridge.
The Eatontown Volunteer Ambulance Corps is the third oldest in the state. It was one of the original seven squads that united to form the New Jersey State First Aid Council, which today consists of more than 500 squads from throughout the state. The squad is also a charter member of the International Association of First Aid and Rescue Squads that was organized in Atlantic City in 1948 and now includes first aid, rescue, and life squads from all over the world.
Organized to primarily serve the residents of the Borough of Eatontown, the squad has also given its time and facilities to surrounding communities on many occasions.
The squad was called to Spring Lake for the S.S. Morro Castle disaster in 1934, to Lakehurst for the explosion and crash of the Graf Zepplin Hindenburg in 1937, to the Hercules Powder Company plant explosion in North Jersey in 1940, and to the Woodbridge Train Wreck in 1951.
It was also called to the South Amboy Munitions explosion and treated victims at the Charles Manor Fire in Sea Bright. On September 11, 2001, crews from the Eatontown First Aid assisted and tended to victims that came from the city via boat to the Highlands. And in the following days sent ambulances and crews into Manhattan. In March 2005, squad members tended to, treated and transported the victims of the Petco building explosion in Eatontown. These serve to illustrate only some of the more spectacular events and to these must be added to the day-to-day automobile accidents and fires in surrounding communities that are too numerous to mention in detail.
Running out of room in the ambulances to store equipment, squad members purchased a new 1974 Ford Econoline van. Members themselves, built and furnished it with extrication equipment and so was born "Rescue 14". Two years later in 1976, EFAS was one of the first local squads to purchase the Jaws of Life rescue tool.
The original ambulance was housed in Clyde Hayes' garage. Later, squad members, with the help of some of Eatontown's building craftsmen, built a special garage for the ambulance that included a meeting room. It was erected in the center of the parking lot behind the old Borough Hall. As the need for a larger parking lot became apparent, Borough officials in the early sixties agreed to house the ambulances in the new firehouse on Broad Street where the squad's vehicle's and equipment are housed to this day.
With an annual call volume of approximately 1,800 calls per year, members today are still answering the call. Many new members, along with members with 20, 30, 40 years of
service, are still active and filling the need for emergency medical care to residents and visitors of Eatontown.