Born out of necessity, the Wayne Township Memorial First Aid Squad has grown over the past decades to become an efficient, well-operated organization that responds to over 5,000 calls each year. Back in 1942, Wayne Township suffered the loss of eight lives during the bitterly cold week of February 8-14. At that time, there was no local first aid squad, and ambulance services were provided by neighboring units in Pompton Lakes, Little Falls, and Cedar Grove, as well as by Paterson hospitals. Seeing the need to have a squad within the township, a group of concerned citizens took it upon themselves to establish a local ambulance corps, which became a reality one year later.
In 1943, the Wayne Township Memorial First Aid Squad was officially formed, and the first call was responded to on September 1, 1944. The original headquarters building was located on Oak Street on the property of Captain William Taylor, the first president of the squad. During the early years, Wayne also responded to calls in half of Totowa and all of Lincoln Park, until these communities developed squads of their own.
The headquarters moved in 1950 to Boonton Road (now Mountainview Blvd) on a site currently occupied by American Legion Post #174 before eventually moving to the Mountain View building on Taylor Drive. As Wayne Township continued to expand, a second building was added on Hamburg Turnpike, giving the township two facilities at opposite ends of town. An addition of bay areas to the Hamburg Turnpike facility took place in 1992, and proved to be of great value, especially after fire destroyed the Mountain View building and all equipment had to be moved and stored.
The first ambulance for the Wayne squad was a 1942 recycled Buick hearse, which was obtained from Chicago. In 1954, a 1952 Cadillac became the second ambulance for the corps, and the original Buick was replaced by another Cadillac. The first two rescue vehicles were a Jeep wagon and a Chevrolet truck, which could transport personnel and equipment but could not carry patients from an accident site. This problem was solved with the addition of a Multi-Carry Rescue (MCR) vehicle in the early 1970’s, and later by a rescue truck with a custom-designed box on a Ford diesel chassis obtained in 1987.
The organization that started out with only a handful of people has now grown to over 65 trained Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). All members receive this type of training, and may also complete courses with the State Police in heavy rescue work. The establishing of the Youth Squad in 1973 allowed youngsters 16-18 years of age to serve in an auxiliary capacity, and many went on to become members of the squad. Now known as the Cadet Corps, active members are still being sought.
On Friday November 2, 2007 at the New Jersey Statewide Conference held in Atlantic City, awarded Wayne Township Memorial First Aid Squad as the Outstanding Volunteer EMS Agency in the state for 2007.
Members of the Wayne First Aid Squad on the Cover of the Gold Cross, The Magazine of the New Jersey State First Aid Council, receiving the award for “Outstanding Volunteer EMS Agency” presented by council President Sue Van Orden.
The Squad has come a long way in the more than sixty five years since the original “hearse” responded to its first call. Modern equipment, consisting of four modular ambulances and an emergency vehicle, highly-trained volunteers, and efficient communication systems, provide Wayne with the finest service by the men and women who give much time and effort to serve others.
Today, our squad operates 5 ambulances, 1 heavy rescue, gator, mobile ambulance bus, mass casually trailers, chief cars and 2 boats. In 2016, we answered over 5,070 calls.