Montgomery EMS Celebrates 50 Years of Service
By Snigdha Joshi | June 9, 2022
Imagine being severely injured, and not knowing when help would arrive. This was the predicament faced by Montgomery residents prior to 1972. Residents would call the dispatcher and hope that Hillsborough, Rocky Hill, or Princeton had available ambulances to send. If the ambulance could not come, residents would either have to wait or find a way to get to the hospital themselves.
A small group of residents set up Montgomery’s first volunteer squad, now known as the Montgomery Emergency Medical Services (MEMS), in June 1972. They trained with the emergency services in Hillsborough and Hopewell, until they were totally independent in 1973. They operated in different locations until they constructed their building at 8 Harlingen Road in Belle Mead in the mid-1970s.
In 1992, a fire broke out where the ambulances were parked. One ambulance was destroyed and two others were damaged. Even as repairs were happening, the EMS continued to operate by borrowing ambulances from other towns.
MEMS has a deep history characterized by generosity and community. They have grown from a group of 10 volunteers to more than 70, representing a diverse group of individuals. “You could be riding on a call with someone in the 60s and somebody who is 16, and every age in between,” says MEMS Vice President Michael Cunniff.
Every volunteer emergency medical technician completes a 240-hour to become certified by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Then, volunteers do clinical time before joining the others at the station, where they go through more training with the squad. As a result, MEMS medical technicians are just as highly skilled as any emergency medical technician in the state. Their extensive skills are evident in their support from the community.
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MEMS President Carol Raymond says she visited a donor to say thank for a large gift. When she got there, she realized the donation had come from the family of a person she saved through CPR. Both parties were grateful for each other. Many MEMS members cite “community” when asked about their favorite part of the MEMS. Squad member Elaine Dundi, says, “We go through a lot of challenging stuff together, so it definitely creates a really tight bond between us.”
On June 27, the MEMS will host a golf outing at the Cherry Valley Country Club to celebrate 50 years of service and fundraise. The organization is self-sufficient, meaning volunteers raise their own funds. Plans for the future include: Investing in modern medical technology; modernizing their headquarters and fleet; and continue to maintain first-class operations. They recently replaced a 22-year-old truck, and hope to continue to improve equipment and operations to provide even better service to Montgomery residents in the years to come. “It’s all to help people you don’t know in their hour of need” says President Raymond. This is something the MEMS has done successfully for 50 years and will continue to do for many years to come.
Learn more at the MEMS website.