Our club donated to the Cedar Knolls First Aid Squad to support their medical dialer program.

Last week Dave King introduced Chad DiGiorgio, Chief, Cedar Knolls Fire Department, and Deborah Golden, EMT, Cedar Knolls Fire Department, as our guest speakers.

The Cedar Knolls Fire Department has made a lot of progress in the past 3 weeks on the dialer program. Deborah purchased one dialer to see how well it works. Deborah showed us a unit that had the highest rated reviews. If someone is anywhere near the base unit, they'll be able to talk to the dispatcher. The necklace and the wrist remotes have a maximum range of about 100 feet. The wrist remote is water proof. It can be worn while washing the dishes or in the shower/bath. The necklace has a break away feature so that if it gets caught it will break away from the neck.

Deborah visited about 6 homes recently. She learned a lot about telephone wiring. In the past, she has also been asked to do everything from changing the batteries in the smoke detectors to stirring the sauce. She believes it is nice to provide a service to the community and she get the pleasure of having that interaction and being able to do something to help out. She thanked us for our contribution to the program. The plan is to change out all the old units with this new model. They also plan to go to senior citizen club meetings to present the program but before they do, they want to have the program running efficiently. Deborah is tracking down all the units that are out in the community. About 100 people have requested a dialer and about half of them have passed on. It is not clear if the dialers were recycled to someone else or lost. In the future, the dialer’s serial number and other information will be entered into the department’s equipment tracking system. The dialers will also have a fire department equipment tag.

With the community and the surrounding communities growing, the call volume has increased tremendously. From 2010 to 2018 they are answering 40 to 50% more calls. They expect to have 2300 calls this year. As a comparison, in Mount Arlington they have about 600 or 700 calls per year. They've had as many as 14 calls in a 12 hour period. Deborah was helping someone with the dialer when a call came in and she had to leave. Most of their calls are medical calls, followed by fire calls, and then everything else.

The Fire Department has two ambulances. Monday through Friday from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM they have two firefighters and two emergency medical technicians on shift. On Saturday they have two medical technicians in the firehouse from 6 AM to 10 PM. Surrounding communities help each other during times of high call volumes. Some neighboring communities have an all volunteer squad. As with any volunteer organization, they are struggling to retain volunteers. The fire department has a lot of requirements and training involved.