In 1946 a young boy was hit by a truck on Germantown road in the Apshawa section of the township. There was no ambulance available and he died before aid could be obtained. Later that year Mr. Ken Norman of the township started talking to the members of the 6 fire companies of West Milford with the idea of two men from each fire company volunteering to take a first aid course. The fire companies were to purchase the ambulance for them. Lester Titus, another township resident, said he would loan the money to them without interest for as long as it would take to pay it back. They accepted this generous offer and within one year to the day, the final payment was made to Mr. Titus.
The first ambulance was a 1948 Superior Cadillac. They later purchased a used ambulance from the Ridgefield First Aid Squad for the sum of $1.00. This was parked in the Upper Greenwood Lake section of the township.
Because of overcrowding the West Milford Township Firemen's Volunteer Ambulance Corps broke away from the fire companies in January of 1955 and formed the West Milford Township First Aid Squad, Inc. They made plans for the two buildings which, with a few additions and alterations, are still in use today.
The original West Milford First Aid Squad in front of the old Macopin Volunteer Fire House in 1947. In the photograph are from left to right: West Milford Police Chief John Moeller, Recording Secretary Donald Sly, Assistant Instructor Joseph Moeller, Reidar Wang, Ethel Wang, Service Secretary Joseph Fiorella, Bill McKenney, Donald Ryerson, Louis Swatos, Chief Instructor Sidney Wood, Reverend Frank Kennedy, Helen Michelfelder, Harry Michelfelder and West Milford Police Officer James Kemble.
The final payment for the first Rig.
The West Milford First Aid Squad in 1952.
1960 Cadillac rig purchased in 1964
1974 members - from left to right are: Bob DeBoo, Don Touw, Herb Moser, Jack Cronen, Emmett Leeper, Clay Sondermeyer, Don Anderson, Jim Donnelly and Bill Stenstrum
The first two years the new squad covered a total of 74 ambulance calls. Since then, the squad and township have grown. In 1947 there was one ambulance. By 1974 there were three plus one van truck used for delivering hospital beds and other loan equipment to residents of the township. In the 1980's the squad switched to the type of ambulance known as Mini Mods and increased the number of rigs to four.
During the late 1990's, as member training requirements became more complex and the need to carry more sophisticated equipment became the norm, the squad began switching over to the full size Modular ambulances. By 2002 the last of the Mini Mods was replaced by the full size rigs.
In 1973, the squad reported responding to 923 calls and covered 34,011 miles with a total of 3,595 volunteer hours and a membership of 60 volunteers. In 1999 the squad responded to 1,493 calls with a total of 5,422 volunteer hours and covered 51,729 miles and a membership at year-end of 51. In 2002 our 63 volunteers responded to 1,757 calls. This took 7,349 volunteer hours and covered 58,242 miles of local roads. Basic math will tell you that while the membership numbers have remained fairly constant, the call volume has increased significantly. West Milford is one of the few towns in the area still able to provide 24/7 volunteer coverage. At the same time we provide Mutual Aid assistance to other towns several times each month.