Paramus Ambulance Corps
In 1949, the Paramus Rotary Club became aware that the Borough of Paramus was desperately in need of an ambulance corps. Henry Vander Plaat, the first President of the Paramus Rotary Club, initiated this project.
In November of 1949, a board was appointed to begin the process, consisting of one member each from the Rotary Club, American Legion, VFW, Woman's Club, Fire Department, and Police Department. During the early part of 1950, the Paramus Ambulance Corps was officially organized and incorporated. Mickey DePauw served as the first president of the Board. Walter Wittman donated all the legal work and put the Bylaws and Certificate of Incorporation in place.
Mr. Vander Plaat enlisted the support of the police and fire departments, the VFW, the American Legion, the Woman's Club, and Paramus Rotary, to obtain a vehicle for the corps. With the help of these organizations and $500 donated by the Paramus Council, a 1936 LaSalle was purchased in 1951 for $650. Al Sipporta donated a $50 deposit for the vehicle and it served as the first Paramus ambulance.
The new ambulance found refuge from time to time in Frederick's Garage on Routes 4 & 17, in the Cadmus Garage on Farview & Midland Avenues and in the family garage of Dr. Richard Clifford on Farview Avenue, until the present headquarters was built in 1955. The 1936 LaSalle ambulance was eventually replaced by a new one, donated by Paramus Rotary. It was a 1950 Cadillac. The first Captain was William Berneeker, who led the nine-member Corps in answering 51 calls that year. Today, the Corps answers over 2700 calls per year.
Since becoming part of the town in May of 1995, Paramus demands more from its members than any other town in the State. The very first training for members took only 12 hours. Today, each member must take the original training course of 120 hours, along with a hazmat course and an Incident Command System course. Each year, they must recertify on the defibrillator and take a bloodborne pathogens and a hazmat refresher. Their CPR card must be renewed every other year. And that's just the basics!
Sophisticated equipment, backed with constantly updated training, makes possible the highly diversified services available to all Paramus residents. We now have four ambulances in the bays and a mass casualty rig. We have defibrillators in each ambulance. Last year, a Special Operations team was put in place. We have a bicycle team for large borough events, such as the 4th of July Parade and Block Party. Wheel chairs, crutches, walkers and canes are loaned to members of the community who have need of them.
We also boast of more than 70 active members, which is very rare in most towns. There's a wealth of experience in our active membership, two members having served on the Corps for over 37 years, another two served over 25, six served over 20, thirteen served over 15, and nine served over 10. Our new members benefit from the experience and knowledge that these long-term members have gained. We are truly gifted to have a few members on our Corps who are also trained as paramedics. Also, many of our members belong to the Phoenix Team, which is a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing organization. Paramus Ambulance Corps is truly blessed with the quality of members they have!
The Corps is concerned and willing to unselfishly dedicate their time and experience in the interests of other people. Good deeds are a source of satisfaction to oneself, and an inspiration to the entire community.
As quoted by Mr. Vander Plaat, "Let us not lose the community spirit in which people are concerned about their neighbors and always willing to assist and help those in need." The members of the Paramus Volunteer Ambulance Corps follow that advice, and will always remember him in their prayers. He will always be remembered affectionately as the "Father of our Corps."
We are there for the residents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We enjoy a good working relationship with our police, volunteer firemen and rescue squad, and we are proud to be serving in the Borough of Paramus!