November 7, 2022
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)– Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad (PFARS) has launched a full-scale volunteer recruiting effort, seeking candidates from Princeton and surrounding communities to join its training programs. Applications are currently being accepted for spring, summer and fall 2023 recruit classes. Interested candidates are invited to attend a virtual information session on Monday, Nov. 21 at 6:00 p.m.
“Many residents don’t realize that PFARS is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that is independent of the Municipality of Princeton and not supported by taxpayers. Funding for our operations depends on contributions made by individuals, corporations, and foundations to fulfill our mission to save lives, relieve the suffering of the sick and injured, and promote safety,” said PFARS Chief Matthew Stiff.
The need for emergency services volunteers across the country has significantly increased throughout the pandemic.
According to the United States Census Bureau’s 2019 population survey data measuring civic engagement and volunteering, New Jersey ranks 45th among U.S. states, with a volunteer rate of just 26.1 percent. According to the data, 1,863,865 volunteers contribute 162.7 million hours of service worth an estimated $3.9 billion to the state. (Source: census.gov)
“When I joined the squad in 2012 as a high school junior, I saw it as a chance to learn more about the medical field as a possible career path,” said Allie Persky, PFARS Vice President and EMT Rescue Member. “Volunteering throughout high school, college, and now my work as a healthcare consultant, brings me an incredible sense of purpose. For many of us, the big draw is the close personal friendships we’re able to cultivate within the organization. I also enjoy being able to get out and give back to the community that I grew up in, having meaningful daily interactions with people that may just need a comforting conversation when something is out of the ordinary.”
PFARS responded to more than 2,500 calls in 2021 including nearly 200 mutual aid calls to many surrounding municipalities. The organization maintains an average in-town response time of 6 minutes and 11 seconds from dispatch to on-scene arrival – well below the industry standard 9-minute response time.
“At the onset of the pandemic, our recruiting program was temporarily put on hold along with so many other organizations’,” said Stiff. “Currently, we have 62 volunteers working side-by-side with eight career staff and a full-time chief to deliver the highest quality of care possible to Princeton residents and visitors. We take great pride in maintaining top standards, which is only possible with a strong volunteer base.”
PFARS career and volunteer staff members are highly-trained Emergency Medical Technicians prepared to deliver care in a wide variety of life-threatening situations, including childbirth, allergic reactions, respiratory emergencies, traumatic injuries, and cardiac arrest. EMTs engage in continuing education classes and regular training sessions to ensure they are ready to serve our community with the highest quality care possible. Crews are scheduled in the station 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with off-duty members available by pager to respond to additional or large-scale incidents.
“Our volunteer members have a deep connection with the Princeton community,” said Stiff. “The service they provide directly impacts people daily, which cultivates an incredible sense of purpose. Our volunteers enjoy a sense of accomplishment and pride in the work they do.”