History of the Glen Ridge Ambulance Squad

In 1890, using a horse-drawn wagon, the first ambulance service was provided to the Glen Ridge community by Mountainside Hospital.  That service was discontinued in 1948, and the town then responded to emergency calls with police officers and members of the Glen Ridge Volunteer Fire Department arriving in a fire truck.  If an ambulance was needed, a call was made to the dispatcher for the Montclair police ambulance.  

An ambulance for Glen Ridge was on its way thanks to the efforts of an entire community still recovering from the effects of World War II on its local citizens.   Members of the Glen Ridge Battalion Forum were looking for a suitable way to pay tribute to the local heroes who fought in previous wars.  At that time Glen Ridge was in need of more than an ambulance and the timing was now right.   In 1950 the Glen Ridge Volunteer Ambulance Squad was organized as a functional memorial to the thirty-two men from town who died serving their country during World War II.  

 The First Ambulance

Fundraising began for the town's first ambulance in early 1950 and the response was overwhelming.  Even before letters of appeal were sent out, money poured into the fire station at the rate of $500 per day.  In the end, 1,600 households in town (out of a total of 2,100) made donations.  The $12,000 amount raised exceeded the set goal by $2,000.  This allowed the purchase of an ambulance built by Cadillac that was then state-of-the-art, equipped with oxygen, a resuscitator and inhalator.  There was also a brass plaque inside bearing the names of the 32 individuals from town who had died in the war.

The new ambulance was manned by the volunteer firemen, two on call at all times, and in its first three years of service, it responded to over 650 calls.

The ambulance squad was run by the Glen Ridge fire department until 1990, until the fire department was dissolved and fire services were contracted to Montclair.  Ambulance service continued without interruption as volunteers, representing a broad cross-section of the town in terms of gender, situation, and age from 16 to 70+ came together to build and evolve the ambulance squad into what it is today.

Today, the squad has approximately 85 active members (some of whom are EMT state certified high school students) who donate their time and skills 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to provide support and professional  pre-hospital care and transport to those in need in Glen Ridge and neighboring communities. 

 

*Source:  Spring 2008 Glen Ridge Town Talk