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Mayors Sign EMS Agreements with Count Ten Municipalities have joined the first County Regionalized EMS program in New Jersey

(Logan Twp, NJ) - Gloucester County Freeholders held a ceremony today for the Mayors and municipal officials representing the first ten towns who joined Gloucester County's Regionalized EMS program.  During the ceremony the Mayors officially signed agreements on behalf of their municipality to voluntarily participate in the first County-regionalized EMS system in New Jersey.

"We are proud that these ten local governments had the foresight to be the first to join the regionalized EMS system," stated Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney.  "Under the county EMS system there will be full-time 24-7 coverage."

"Our volunteers are amazing people and we appreciate everything they do for our communities and we want them to participate in this program.  The strain of our society requires families to rely on dual incomes and that has greatly diminished the pool of people who are available to volunteer, especially during working hours," said Freeholder Director Sweeney.  "The reality that the municipal-based model of Basic Life Support ambulance service that relied on volunteers no longer meets the recognized medical standard of care in far too many communities. In critical health care emergencies, minutes can mean the difference between life and death. That is why the County is partnering with the ten towns represented here today," Sweeney said. 

Despite the best efforts of local ambulance squads, response times too often exceed the 8:59 minute standard recommended by the American Ambulance Association and the National Association of EMS Physicians. The county will be focused on meeting the 8:59 minute response time identified as the "Gold Standard of Excellence" by the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Service.

Freeholder Helene M. Reed said, "The signing of these agreements by the Mayors moves us another step ahead.  The county is in the process of recruiting and interviewing EMT's, and we should be ready to start making hires around Labor Day so we can begin training. The regionalized county EMS service is scheduled to launch at the end of September and we are working aggressively to be ready to roll." 

Reed said that the county is also actively recruiting volunteers for the EMS system.  "Volunteers will be an integral part of this system.  We realize and appreciate that there are individuals who commit their time to community service and we welcome them into the county EMS system,"

Freeholder Reed is liaison to Gloucester County Office of Emergency Response. 

Mayors present at the ceremony included Frank Minor of Logan Township, John DeGeorge of East Greenwich, Leo McCabe of Glassboro, John Burzichelli of Paulsboro, Anna Docimo of West Deptford, Alice Polocz of Pitman, Tom Fromm of Swedesboro, and Patricia Gannon of Clayton and representatives from Woolwich and Mantua.

"Gloucester County has regionalized many services and we are successful at it because we take into account the needs of the residents and the uniqueness of each municipality to come up with a better and more efficient service for everyone," said Freeholder Joseph A. Brigandi.  "New Jersey is known as a home-rule state, but it is time to look beyond lines on a map and to regionalize services like EMS for the betterment of our communities," said Freeholder Joseph A. Brigandi, Jr.

The Freeholders said that there will be nine stations to service Phase One.  Of these, seven stations will operate round-the-clock and an additional two stations will operate on a 12-hour, seven days a week schedule, to meet peak demand and to serve as back-up as needs arise.  A total of 10 ambulances will be in operation during the day and 8 at night.  Every ambulance will be staffed with two certified EMT's.

Gloucester County EMS aims to achieve a response time of 8 minutes 59 seconds or less, 90% of the time.  This measure of 8:59 has been identified as the "Gold Standard of Excellence" by the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Service.  Gloucester County has tested runs from all the stations to familiar points and to the far corners of each service area.  This exercise found that even without sirens or lights that the response time goal is assuredly achievable.