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.”