History Of The Ambulance Corps
The Fair Lawn Volunteer Ambulance was started in 1948 with it's organizational meeting held on July 7, 1948. The Corps started with 11 riding charter members. They responded to 178 calls in 1948. As of 2017 the Corps has had 679 members in it's history. Prior to the creation of the Ambulance Corps, the Fair Lawn Police Department would take the ambulance and respond to calls. In 1947 the Police Department found it difficult to answer the ambulance calls and do their officer duties. Commissioner Paul Hardy, Borough Councilman, decided it was time that Fair Lawn have it's own ambulance corps like other communities were starting. In 1949 the Corps was staffing the first aid station at Memorial pool on weekends. Three women also applied to join the Corps but were not granted admission.
There was a discussion about starting a woman's auxiliary corps but it never materialized. In the Corps early days the two ambulances were kept at Fair Lawn Borough Hall, which at the time, was located at 11-05 Gardiner Road. The location is now the home of the Fair Lawn Senior Center. In 1951 discussions started with the Borough about acquiring land to become the new home of the Corps. It's current location was one of the first places considered but the Plaza Road field opposite Kipp Street was also considered. That deal fell through when the Borough and the Corps could not reach an agreement with the property owner. Currently, that location is home to the Anshei Lubavitch Temple. The Corps broke ground on a new building on June 14, 1954 with actual construction starting on September 3, 1954. The original building had one oversized ambulance bay that faced the intersection of Plaza Road and Berdan Avenue. The Corps official dedicated the new building on November 13, 1955.
The Corps did add to the building by constructing a third bay and rotating the bays to face Daly Field. Major construction was not done to the building until 2008 when it was essentially torn down and a new, larger building with four bays was constructed.
In 1960 the Corps discussed starting a Youth Corps but it was not unil 1990 when the "Youth Squad" was officially started. They are now known as the Cadet Corps and have had several members go through the ranks to become doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.
In the early days of EMS in New Jersey, not all communities had their own ambulance squads. Fair Lawn, being one of the first, helped out other communities. Other towns, including Oakland, came to Fair Lawn for advice on how to start a squad. Even into the 1960s not all towns had their own ambulance service. Fair Lawn routinely covered Lodi and Lyndhurst for special events and other requests as needed.
Training of the members has evolved significantly since the start of the organization. The original members were trained in Red Cross first aid. In 1961, then Bergen Pines Hospital, started a "First Aid College" for EMS members to be trained. The training then evolved to the Red Cross 5-point certification In 1975 the State of New Jersey started the first EMT (emergency medical technician) course. 1983 was the start of the Paramedic program in New Jersey and a move to require all ambulance personnel to be EMT certified. This would be accomplished within a couple of years. The EMT requirement remains the standard training for ambulance personnel with the course running approximately 200 hours.
The Corps just completed its 69th year of existence in 2017. The Corps responds to over 2,000 calls each year with the highest call volume coming in 2014 when the Corps responded to 2,452 ambulance requests.
Last Updated: Tue, 01/04/2022 - 8:25am