After over ten years in the making, last week SBES’ Chief Frank Setnicky and Administrative Chief Bucky Buchanan had the opportunity to meet with local, County and Federally elected officials to tour the first if 3 phases of the new, expanded construction at the Hunterdon County Emergency Services Training Center in the Annandale section of Clinton Township.
Setnicky and Buchanan, who have both represented the County’s EMS Chiefs Association and the services provided by local EMS/Rescue providers since the inception of the project, were joined by other committee members from the Fire Chiefs Association, Police Chiefs Association and Training Center instructors for a tour of phase 1, the “burn building” and initial technical rescue training props. The tour was designed to give a first hand loom to the County Commissioners who have provided the funding for the majority of the initial phase, as well as to Senator Cory Booker and Representative Tom Kean, who helped secure additional funding for expanding the classroom space, as well as addition a backup facility for the county’s 9-1-1 site located in Cherryville section of Franklin Township.
During the tour, lead by Public Safety Director Brayden Fahey, a walk through showed the current status and locations for the future projects, the administrative and classroom building, parking areas and vehicle storage building, all items that are greatly lacking at the current, aging facility, sitting just in poor shape just just away from the updated complex.
Local officials from Clinton Township and the Town of Clinton were joined by County Commissioners, County Sheriff, County Prosecutor, County Administrator and staff from both Booker and Kean’s offices over the 2 day visit.
The new facility has already begun hosting technical rescue training programs attended by our rescue company volunteers, and will soon be open for firefighter training. Once phase 2 is complete, plans are in place to utilize the new space and expand the current EMT program we offer to the entire county, which is supported by the County DPS.
SBES would like to thank all those involved so far for making all this possible for the better preparedness of not only our responders, but those across the County and region.
we look forward to continuing to work with the committee and all those who have helped secure the funding to date, as well as the funding necessary to complete future additions that will provide for safe, realistic training for all our responders.
Celebrating "Our Proudest Moment", the 200 Club of Hunterdon County held their 2023 Valor and Merit Awards Dinner earlier this evening in Kingwood Township. Two of the recipients included South Branch Emergency Service volunteers EMT/FF Jason Mayer and EMT Patrick Kochanowski. Along with High Bridge Fire Chief Sean Smith, Mayer, and Kochanowski were awarded the only Live Saving Award of the year for actions taken in the early morning hours of May 1, 2022, at a large residential fire in a multi-unit dwelling in Union Township, Hunterdon County.
The submission for their award read as follows:
On May 1, 2022, South Branch Emergency Services was dispatched with numerous fire departments for a building fire with people trapped. An ambulance from SBES was first to arrive on the scene in less than 5 minutes from dispatch to find a large condo building involved in fire with 3 people that had jumped from the 2nd and 3rd floors to escape. (EMTs) Jason and Patrick immediately began to render aid to those that were seriously injured. They worked for several minutes by themselves until additional units arrived. Jason and Patrick kept calm under pressure and the severity of the injured in providing the best care to those in need, they triages as needed and had others assist when possible until other ambulances and personnel arrived. The crew called for medical helicopters and additional Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support units to evacuate the injured to a regional burn center and a local trauma center. The direct actions by volunteers EMT/FF Mayer and EMT Kochanowski led to successful outcomes for all those seriously injured.
Chief Smith, one of the first arriving Chiefs on the scene, was directed by bystanders and the NJSP personnel on the scene to a woman hanging out a window several stories up with heavy fire behind her. Chief Smith ascended the Clinton Fire Department's Ladder Truck and approached the disoriented woman. While making the rescue and descending the ladder truck, both Chief Smith and the burned, disoriented victim who had tried to get away from her rescuer, lost their footing, which resulted in a fall from the ladder to a NJSP State Trooper below.
Additional residents were evacuated by the quick actions of additional State Troopers and arriving firefighters, including one elderly resident who was still asleep in bed and successfully removed uninjured.
Congratulations to all involved, especially our very own members, for doing what you train to do, but luckily rarely have to use to their full potential. Great job all!
200 Club of Hunterdon, 2023 Honorees
Life-Saving Award - Incident: Union Township Fire
(L to R) EMT/Firefighter Jason Mayer, South Branch Emergency Services
EMT Patrick Kochanowski, South Branch Emergency Services
Chief Sean Smith, High Bridge Fire
Unit Citation Award - Incident: Union Township Fire
Sergeant Michael Delgaizo, NJSP
Trooper Juan Jacome, NJSP
Trooper Filip Konieczkowski, NJSP
Trooper Zachary Manley, NJSP
In addition to South Branch Emergency Services, High Bridge Fire Department, and NJSP, other honorees included members of:
The decision means Hampton, Glen Gardner, and Bethlehem Township residents will continue to receive excellent emergency care with faster response times despite a decline in volunteers.
Hunterdon County, NJ...Hampton Emergency Squad, which provides emergency medical care in Hampton, Glen Gardner and Bethlehem Township, will merge with South Branch Emergency Services on January 1, 2022, leaders from both organizations announced. The resulting organization will operate under the South Branch name and provide coverage to all areas currently served by the two entities.
“We’re very excited about it,” said Hampton Chief Penny Tampier. “The people are going to get better service.”
Residents served by Hampton are already familiar with South Branch, whose EMTs provide daytime coverage from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Currently, Hampton volunteers respond to nighttime emergencies from home, heading first to the station and then to the call. After the merger, on-duty squad members will respond directly to emergencies. “Response times should be much quicker,” Tampier said.
A decline in volunteers – gradual for years, and recently abrupt – led Hampton Emergency Squad leaders to seek the merger, Tampier said. The gradual decline in volunteer numbers and daytime availability is a problem faced by all volunteer-based emergency services, and what led Hampton to seek a daytime coverage partnership nearly two decades ago. Then in 2021, Hampton’s volunteer roster dropped sharply, from 20 EMTs. Some volunteers moved or went back to college.
“We want to be able to give the same high level of care that we were always able to in the past, the level of care that people expect from us, and this merger allows that to happen” stressed Chief Tampier.
Two Mergers in Two Years Creating a Regional Approach
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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Caroline Fassett may be reached at email@example.com.
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
2009 PL Gold Ford Medallion E-Super 170" Ambulance
Diesel, automatic transmission, 2 wheel drive
Overall: Length 275", Width 99", Height: 107"
Front line ambulance used as a BLS unit until taken out of service due to merger 7/1/2020. Being offered in as-is condition. Maintenance Records available to purchaser.
Does NOT include stretcher or stretcher mount system.
For questions contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Located in Clinton NJ (Hunterdon County) for in person viewings contact above email.
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.
Clinton First Aid & Rescue Squad and High Bridge Emergency Squad Proudly Announce a New Name and Details of July 1 Merger
By working together as a single organization, the same dedicated group of EMTs and Rescue Associates will bring faster and better emergency care to both communities.
Clinton and High Bridge, NJ…Throughout each of their decades-long histories, Clinton First Aid & Rescue Squad and High Bridge Emergency Squad have pursued the same goal: Serving their communities by protecting the health and safety of the people who live in, work in, or visit their communities. Now, with the guidance of local residents, business owners, government officials, they are joining together to create one new organization to serve those communities better.
South Branch Emergency Services will officially launch on July 1.
Discussions that led to this important and necessary step began nearly two years ago. In the face of shifting populations, growing demands on limited resources, and a decline in the number of volunteer EMTs and rescue associates nationwide, the leadership of both organizations knew something had to be done to insure they could continue to provide high quality emergency services for many decades to come. In January 2019, a Steering Committee comprised of community residents, local business leaders, elected and appointed officials, and representatives from both emergency service organizations was formed. After reviewing current conditions and considering ways to improve them, the committee concluded that a merger was the best option. The committee, Clinton First Aid & Rescue, and High Bridge Emergency Squad, began forming a new organization that will build on the strengths of its two predecessors and seamlessly serve both communities.