CLINTON, NJ—South Branch Emergency Services (SBES) announced January 4, 2022, that it has appointed long-time volunteer chief Frank Setnicky as the organization’s first full-time paid chief.
The decision to reconfigure SBES’s top job was two-fold, said SBES President Sharon Burham.
The chief’s responsibilities have grown significantly, along with an increase in service area and people served. In 2020, the former Clinton First Aid & Rescue and High Bridge Emergency squads merged to create SBES. On January 1, 2022, Hampton Emergency Squad and SBES completed their merger.
When deputy chief of EMS/operations Bucky Buchanan announced he would leave SBES to serve on the New Jersey EMS Task Force, “It seemed like the right time to combine most of the two leadership positions into a single, full-time, paid role,” Burham said. “We were very lucky that Frank—with his years of experience in volunteer and career EMS leadership, his vast knowledge of the profession, and the tremendous relationships he already has with our career and volunteer staff—was available.”
Setnicky has led SBES and the former Clinton First Aid & Rescue Squad for decades. He already had six years’ experience as a volunteer EMT when he joined Clinton in 1984, and has been chief for the majority of those years. He also has significant experience as a full-time paid EMT and EMS chief.
Setnicky retired in fall 2021 as chief of Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad, a job he held for 15 years. He had served Princeton as a career EMT for the previous two decades.
As of January 1 when the merger with Hampton took effect, Setnicky is now overseeing the emergency services that SBES offers to the town of Clinton, Clinton Township, Lebanon Borough, High Bridge Borough, Hampton, Glen Gardner and portions of Bethlehem, Franklin, Union, and Tewksbury townships. He will lead 90 volunteers, 32 career EMTs, and 15 instructors who teach the courses offered at the SBES Training Center.
“Now, I will have even more time to commit to South Branch Emergency Services than when I volunteered here but worked full time elsewhere,” Setnicky said. “I will still ride the ambulance once a week, as I do now.”
Setnicky’s expanded role includes direct supervision of paid staff members along with payroll and other administrative tasks. He will now be the squad’s liaison with community leaders.
Setnicky and Burham both acknowledged the contributions Buchanan has made to first Clinton First Aid & Rescue Squad and now SBES, and thanked him for his dedication.
“Bucky brought us a long way, and did a terrific job as the day-to-day face of the squad. He has put us in a great position to move forward,” Setnicky said. “We will miss him, but we’re happy for him. And he has promised us that he will still help if his help is needed.”
South Branch Emergency Services is proud to announce our 2022 Leadership Team
We would like to thank all the team members who will be completing their officer positions this year, and for your volunteer service.
The Employment Committee of South Branch Emergency Services, Inc is pleased to announce the appointment of EMT/FF Christopher Querry to the new position of Full Time EMT/Rescue Lieutenant.
Lt. Querry joined SBES through the Clinton First Aid & Rescue Squad in 2014, as a volunteer candidate, obtained his EMT in our EMT training program, and moved up to the position of Rescue Captain last year. This year he has been promoted to this newly created full time position. He will take his post on November 1st.
Chris follows in his parents footsteps of Emergency Services, and joined the Clinton Fire Department as a junior firefighter back in 2013. He is currently employed as a per diem FF/EMT with the City of Lambertville Fire Company, the Lambertville-New Hope EMS, Quakertown Fire Company and both the the Hunterdon County Emergency Services Training Center as well as Somerset County Emergency Services Training Academy
Lt. Querry looks forward to becoming our first full time Rescue Officer, and hopes to continue building the dynamic and diverse program that SBES delivers to our communities.
We welcome Chris back to the officer team and now as a full timer here at SBES!
Clinton Township, NJ (Hunterdon) – Just prior to 4pm Tuesday June 29th, South Branch Emergency Services was alerted to respond to the Round Valley Recreation Area to meet with the State Lifeguards to check out a juvenile swimmer who had been pulled from the swimming area and was ill.
Upon arrival of our first Ambulance five minutes after dispatch, lifeguard in charge Tiffany Osti, who happens to also be a volunteer here at South Branch, met with the EMT’s and advised that 2 juveniles had been rescued by family, fellow swimmers and NJ State Parks Lifeguards after falling off a sandbar in the swimming area.
While crews were evaluating those involved, they were notified by NJ State Parks Lifeguards that there was a potential additional victim that had not been seen coming out of the water. They initiated their missing person protocols, and a call was made for additional Ambulances and our Water Rescue team to respond.
Water Rescue 365, Utility 365, Marine units 2, 3 & 4 responded and command was established on the Beach by SBES Chief Frank Setnicky. “Upon our arrival, the lifeguards were actively doing surface dives and searches of the entire swimming area” he stated of the initial response. He added, “Our marine units they were deployed to start doing surface searches with rescue swimmers and rescue boats”.
Due to the nature of the call, our Incident Commander requested the Lambertville Fire
Department Dive Rescue Team, who responded with 6 divers, 2 tenders and support staff.
Also requested was our REHAB unit due to the excessive heat, and additional support staff.
NJ State Police Aviation Unit, known as NorthStar, was called to assist in the search of the
swimming area from above. After several high level and low searches, they were unable to spot any items of interest.
LFD divers and tenders suited up and were transported to the "point last seen" by SBES boats. The divers then performed tethered searches of the bottom in water with about 3-6 feet of visibility in depths ranging from 8 to 21 feet. The search area was expanded as divers were rotated. The LFD divers performed 80 minutes of searching, also with negative results.
As per protocol, NJ State Police Marine Unit out of Carteret was contacted and requested to respond to the scene. They arrived as subsequent searches yield no findings, and investigations by the NJ State Parks Police who were on scene yielded no additional reports of missing persons.
Twenty four South Branch Emergency Services personnel responded to this incident over the course of the 3 hours search.
The search was cancelled by 7pm, with units clearing up over the next half hour.
By Caroline Fassett | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
South Branch Emergency Services, a rescue squad that serves a number of communities throughout Hunterdon County, held a rescue drill at the Round Valley Recreation Area in Clinton Township on Sunday morning.
The training involved both the ground and water units rescuing three hikers in distress as well as victims of an overturned boat in the water. The victim actors were members of the squad.
A total of 32 first responders operated two boats, three ambulances, and a rescue truck throughout the successful drill, which lasted about two and a half hours.
South Branch Emergency Services serves the Town of Clinton, Clinton Township, Lebanon Borough, High Bridge Borough and portions of Franklin Township, Bethlehem Township, and Union Township.
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Rich Maxwell | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
First Responder Hone their Skills with a Land/Water Rescue Drill
The training involved first responders rescuing victim actors in distress as well as victims of an overturned boat in the water.
South Branch Emergency Services would like to thank the Hunterdon Board of County Commissioners for supporting all the County's EMS Agencies, including ours, in our continued response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
SBES has received our units and have placed on our 2 of our first due units.
Hunterdon Rescue Squads To Receive New Protective Air Respirators From County
New Hunterdon County Board of County Commissioners Director Susan J. Soloway announced, at the January 5 th Re-organization meeting, that the Board has approved providing state of the art air purifying respirator units, which offer high level respiratory protection, to each of the county’s thirteen Volunteer Rescue Squads.
Soloway stated, “Providing two state of the art 3M Power Air-Purifying Respirator Kits to each of the County’s thirteen Rescue Squads is part of the Board’s continuing effort to support those who have put themselves on the line for all of us, not only throughout the pandemic, but also through the years.
I am advised these respiratory protection systems give maximum protection to users and are of significant value for responding to unknown air quality situations.”
Soloway remarked, “The equipment carries a cost that normally exceeds the fiscal capabilities of local volunteer units, which have also been severely affected by the economic impacts of the pandemic. Our First Responders have put themselves on the line for all of us throughout the pandemic. Where the County can provide these brave individuals with the equipment and protections they need, we are going to do so.”
Commissioner John E. Lanza, the Board’s Public Safety liaison noted, “The County’s OEM has worked tirelessly to provide the necessary PPE to those on the front lines of the pandemic, including rescue squads, fire companies, our municipalities, and many other entities. These air respirators will enhance protections for those emergency medical services personnel who are often confronted by the unknown in the field.”
Hunterdon County’s Acting Public Safety Director and Emergency Management Coordinator Brayden Fahey added, “Experiences over the last several years have prompted our EMS agencies to implement enhancements for both responder and patient safety. Incidents like the 2014 Ebola outbreak and COVID-19 pandemic pose communicable disease and illness risks that required agency leaders to identify additional personal protective equipment. These PAPRs will offer tremendous protection in the prehospital environment”
The equipment is expected to be distributed by the end of the week
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: January 15, 2021
Contact: Susan J. Soloway, Director
By Caroline Fassett | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
December 25, 2020
A nurse. A science teacher. A gym owner. The head of a non-profit. A volunteer EMT. A wedding officiant. Six people. All linked by what has connected us all in 2020 - the coronavirus pandemic. Whatever we thought 2020 was going to be, COVID-19 changed everything.
As we come to the close of the year, NJ Advance Media asked New Jerseyans to reflect on the past 12 months, and share their thoughts and their hopes for the future. This series of essays, videos and interviews, called Can’t stop us | How Jerseyans adapted, came together and persevered in 2020, continues below.
NJ Advance Media recently sat down for an in-depth video interview with Jason Mayer, a 21-year-old volunteer and EMS lieutenant for the South Branch Emergency Services in Hunterdon County.
In this interview, Mayer reflects on the unprecedented events of this past year that stirred “a big change” from the normal for himself and for the squad — particularly at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, when the world was mostly unaware of what the virus even is.
“The biggest thing I’ll never forget is my first call with a (COVID-19) patient ... donning all this new PPE that we wear — our gowns, our N95 masks, our eye protection,” Mayer said. “And just going into this building and we’re not sure exactly what we’re up against, and then we’re just relying back on our training and our PPE to help keep us safe.”
The Employment Committee of South Branch Emergency Services, Inc is pleased to announce the promotion of EMT/FF Ryan Clancy to the position of Full Time EMT/Operations Lt.
Lt. Clancy joined SBES through the Clinton First Aid & Rescue Squad in August 2018, as a per diem EMT in our trainee program, after having completed his EMT course work at the Clinton EMS Training Center.
Ryan follows in his parents footsteps of Emergency Services, and joined the Clinton Fire Department as a junior firefighter back in 2015. He followed that in another volunteer position with Mansfield EMS in 2016, earned his NJ EMT, and rose to the rank of Lt, He continues to volunteer with the Clinton Fire Department, and also served with the Mansfield Twp Fire Company from 2016 through earlier this year. He is currently employed as a 9-1-1 Public Safety Dispatcher in the Warren County Communications Center.
Having become a CPR instructor with our Training Center, Lt. Clancy has continued his personal growth, and recently began the process to become a NJ EMT Instructor through our Aide position.
We welcome Ryan to the officer team here at SBES!
The merger of Clinton First Aid & Rescue Squad and High Bridge Emergency Squad is complete. The mission to provide the highest quality emergency medical care continues. More volunteers are needed now.
Clinton and High Bridge, NJ…When someone in these communities needs urgent medical treatment, emergency rescue, or rapid and safe hospital transit, South Branch Emergency Services now answers the call.
South Branch Emergency Services was created by the merger of two long-serving emergency service organizations: Clinton First Aid & Rescue Squad and High Bridge Emergency Squad. Research convinced leaders of both founding organizations and a Steering Committee of residents, business owners, and elected officials from both communities that a merger would yield quicker response times and other efficiencies. The Committee provided planning and guidance that resulted in the new South Branch Emergency Services (SBES), which launched July 1. SBES serves the same northern areas of Hunterdon County that the two former organizations did: the Town of Clinton, Clinton Township, High Bridge, Lebanon Borough, and parts of Franklin Township and Union Township.
Key Community Benefits
The former Clinton building at 48 Old Highway 22 in the Town of Clinton and the High Bridge building at 95 West Main Street in High Bridge remain open. High Bridge's evening staffing has changed from on-call to on-site. Both Clinton and High Bridge ambulances and other apparatus remain in service – now sporting new decals bearing the South Branch name. A single administrative team can serve what was two organizations and use resources more efficiently. Most importantly, SBES brings together the skills, experience, and dedication of High Bridge’s 20 volunteers, Clinton’s 90 volunteers, and Clinton’s 40 paid full- and part-time EMTs.
New Volunteers are Needed NOW
The need for emergency medical care has never been higher. South Branch Chief Frank Setnicky and Battalion Chief John “JT” Silliman agree the key to continuously improving service as call volumes keep rising is simple: More volunteers.
“Simple doesn’t mean easy,” Silliman said. Setnicky agrees. “There is a nationwide shortage of volunteer first responders, and we have felt the impact here in Hunterdon County, too.”
Both men have lived in and served the community for many years, and they have faith in their neighbors.
“Once people realize we are a predominantly volunteer organization, we need volunteers now, and that no experience is necessary to join, they will want to help,” Silliman said.
“Training, equipment and gear are free,” added Setnicky. “You will learn how to save lives – there is no more meaningful way to give back. And you will quickly start making a difference.”
Training begins with specialized CPR and first aid classes, after which volunteers can assist EMTs on ambulance calls, gaining experience that helps prepare them for the EMT course and exams.
Training includes learning to stay safe while helping others, covering everything from how to safely lift a patient to preventing the spread of viruses, including COVID-19. COVID-19 precautions, such as wearing masks, will also be observed during training.
The two SBES officers add that members will receive as much as they give, including a profound sense of accomplishment and purpose and the life-long friendship of other members.
There are many different and vital ways to volunteer with SBES, including the Cadet program for teens ages 14 through 18 and non-emergency support roles. Those interested should visit www.SBES365.org to learn more or fill out a volunteer inquiry form. Interested, but not certain? Consider the Observer Program. Anyone 18 or older can sign up to spend one shift riding along with the crew, no experience necessary.
The South Branch Emergency Services, Inc dba Clinton First Aid & Rescue Squad (SBES) is a recipient in a recent round of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for first responders. The grant competitive, meaning we received these funds based on the merits of the Squad's request to offer better protection for our members.
Awarded last September 8th, the $104,000 FY2018 Assistance to Firefighters Grants was used to purchase sets of EMS non-firefighting turn out gear to include blood-borne-pathogen resistant rescue jackets, ANSI compliant traffic vests, helmets, gloves, googles, pants and boots for more than 50 members of the organization.
SBES contributed 10% to the cost-sharing purchase, which "without receiving a grant like this, would have been impossible to update to the latest available protection for our members", stated Frank Setnicky, Chief.
:"When we first applied for this grant in October of 2018, we had no idea if we would be able to make this project possible" stated H. Bucky Buchanan, Deputy Chief of EMS. "For the past several years, since the AFG Grant program has allowed EMS Agencies like ours to apply, we have submitted unsuccessful applications for funding of multiple projects". This year that changed with the award of the departments first Assistance to Firefighters Grant.
"Not only are many of our personnel receiving issued gear, but we are also able to replace State-mandated gear on all our ambulances, some of which dates back over 23 years old" stated Chris Miller, Deputy Chief of Rescue.
Thanks go out to Congressman Tom Malinowski who not only wrote a letter of support for this project, but also time to visit with our leadership last year to review our application request. We'd also like to show our appreciation to the Town of Clinton Mayor Janice Kovach and Council for offering support of our applications throughout the years.