History Behind Squad 11
Ambulance service in Barnegat was started in August 1944 as a unit of the American Red Cross and for the first few months was operated entirely by the women of the community. In October of that year, some men of the town joined the women in transporting the ill and injured, covering territory from Manahawkin to Lanoka Harbor, with patients being transported to doctors' offices or Royal Pines and Paul Kimball Hospitals in Lakewood. Some of the early records show that patients were transported as far as Harrisburg, PA. The first full year of service, a total of 51 calls were answered. During 1969 a total of 150 plus calls were answered. Some of the early records indicate how much gas was put in, how much oil used and how much air was put in the tires. Other interesting entries such as "had stretcher tightened so it won't wobble", "put red cellophane in front light", "changed bed and took sheets home to wash", and "swept out dirt" are found in the early records which, in those days, were kept in a small 3"x5" notebook such as children use for homework assignments and all details were handwritten. In 1969, the Squad used 6"x9” notebooks with loose-leaf paper containing printed forms, which merely required the blanks to be filled in and checkmarks placed beside the type of call.
On September 5, 1945, the ambulance service in Barnegat was taken over and operated by Union Township. Cases in those days were mostly maternity, illness and broken bones, with very few automobile accidents as those handed in today’s age. All calls were taken through the office of the Justice of the Peace, Walter Wheeler, until his death in 1962. In 1969, the Squad had its own telephone exchange with calls being handled by the town druggist during the day and the Captain of the Squad from 9:00 PM to 9:00 AM, with a few calls being made to the Squad building by someone new in town or someone who felt this is the quickest way to get help. It appears that in the early days of ambulance service, anyone who wanted to help was welcome, apparently without the necessity of having a valid first aid card.
On August 22, 1949, Union Township First Aid Squad, Inc. was incorporated as a member of the New Jersey State First Aid Council and operated as such until 1955 when it officially became Barnegat First Aid Squad, Inc. Mr. Cornelius J. Van Vorst was elected the first President of Union Township First Aid Squad and held the office until his death in 1959. Headquarters for the Squad was in the Union Township Municipal Building until 1956 when the Barnegat First Aid Squad building was erected on Birdsall Street.
The New Jersey State First Aid Council is based on a spirit of cooperation between the member squads. This cooperation allows adjacent towns to provide assistance to their respective town citizens. This also includes assistance to State organizations when requested.
Late in 1951, Stafford Township First Aid Squad was formed thereby reducing the territory covered by the Barnegat First Aid Squad. Lacey Township First Aid Squad was organized in 1957, relieving Barnegat from that area of coverage. Waretown First Aid Squad was organized in 1962, which brought Barnegat’s area of coverage to be inside the Union Township boundary lines.
Early Annual Reports filed by Union Township First Aid Squad indicate that, for a short time it was the owner of two ambulances; one a 1939 LaSalle, the other a 1951 Cadillac. On September 26, 1968, Barnegat First Aid Squad became the proud owner of their first brand new ambulance, a 1968 Cadillac.
The earliest Annual Reports indicate 14 members of the Squad. Today, the Squad has a membership of over 40.
Each year, members answer an average of 1,100 - 1,300 emergency calls and dedicate nearly 15,000 hours of volunteer time. Barnegat First Aid Squad operates Monday thru Friday from 6:00 PM until 6:00 AM and 24 hours per day on Saturdays and Sundays.