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:
On Saturday, South Branch Emergency Services Rescue Company was requested into Warren County, Washington Borough, for a person stuck in a car wash. Heavy Rescue 365 Responded with 4 members after dispatch, while Rescue 365 responded with 5 members a few minutes later.
Upon arrival, Washington units had already started measures to begin to free the individual's leg, and crews from the Rescue Company assisted in the operation. Power and air supply to the car wash was secured, and crews quickly worked to develop a plan to remove the remaining equipment that was trapping the individual's leg in the wheel track of an automatic car wash,
The Crews from South Branch worked on the scene for approximately 15 minutes before freeing the trapped victim, and in total Units were back and available within 25 minutes.
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.”