A group of volunteers organized on March 25, 1930 as the Fair Haven Fire Department Emergency First Aid Squad. Their mission was to provide aid in times of an emergency. On Monday, May 19, 1930 by vote of the membership, the name was changed to “Fair Haven Volunteer Fire Department Emergency Corps.” The Corps was incorporated January 1, 1932 under the fire company’s charter and elected was the first president, Thomas Cleary and the first Captain, Edward Little.
The first ambulance of the new unit was a white “children’s hearse” bought from a northern New Jersey undertaker for $800. On September 2, 1932 authorization was given to purchase a used Meteor ambulance. Fifteen hundred dollars was raised through raffles, donations, membership dues and a $500 loan from the fire company. The housing of this piece of apparatus created another problem, however through the generosity of service station owner Robert Cameron, it was temporarily housed in his garage. A building committee was formed and an annex to the fire house was completed in the fall of 1933 at the low cost of $61.12.
In 1934 the tragic burning of the S.S. Morro Castle occurred off the New Jersey coast with the ship being beached in Asbury Park. Fair Haven responded to the call for assistance and received a certificate of appreciation for their participation and help.
On May 6, 1937 the squad responded to another disastrous tragedy when the Hindenburg exploded and burned as it was landing at the Lakehurst, New Jersey Naval Air Station. The ambulance and a four man crew rushed to the scene, when all available first aid squads were summoned. Bodies were removed from the wreckage by the aid men and placed in a hangar.
By 1939 the old ambulance was beginning to show wear, so a committee was appointed to look into the acquiring a new rig. In August 1939, a new LaSalle ambulance was purchased and placed in service. By this point in time, the men were responding to approximately 75 to 80 calls a year. As years passed, the membership increased as did the number of calls. The 1939 LaSalle was in constant need of repair and in 1953 the president appointed a committee to purchase another ambulance. A new 1954 Meteor was substituted for the LaSalle and like its predecessor, had the emblem of the squad which was originally designed by member, Abram C. Dixon.
On Tuesday evening, February 6, 1951, the fatal wreck of a Pennsylvania Railroad train at Woodbridge, New Jersey killed 85 and injured 400 persons. Fair Haven’s squad met four trains, which arrived throughout the night, carrying injured persons to Red Bank’s Riverview Hospital.
The first aid quarters moved in 1953, along with the fire company, to the present location on River Road and Battin Road. A new Miller Cadillac ambulance was accepted by Councilman Russell Minton and the keys for the new vehicle presented to first aid Captain Hubert Conover.
In 1962, the first addition to the new fire house provided two bays, a first aid meeting room and storage facilities for the squad. A new SWAB ambulance, Fair Haven’s first “modular box”, was purchased by the squad in 1970 giving them two pieces of apparatus. Soon thereafter, a boat with trailer was obtained to be used for water rescue. With the increased level of training and the introduction of specialized medical equipment, more storage space was necessary for the squad to operate efficiently.
In 1979, Fair Haven took delivery of a new PL Custom Body modular ambulance. Fourteen years later, while still in excellent condition, this ambulance was donated to the town of Percival, Iowa because they had lost their only ambulance during the 1993 Midwestern floods. Members of the Percival Rescue Squad flew to Fair Haven to receive their gift. A small ceremony, covered by local television and newspapers, took place and the next day, our ambulance left for Iowa.
The late Janine Haney (and wife of the the late ex-Captain John Haney), was the first woman to become a First Aider. As more women joined the First Aid Squad, they began to assume leadership positions in our Squad. Raquel Falotico holds the distinction of being the first female to hold the line position of Captain, serving twice- in 1988 and 1989. She was followed by Sue Bennett (1991), Brenda Jacobsen (1999), Katy Frissora (2010) and Trudy Wojciehowski (2013). The 2015 line is the first time since 1989 that two women are serving as officers in the same year: 1st Lieutenant Kim Ambrose and 2nd Lieutenant Amanda Lynn.
In December 1992, the New Jersey coast was hit with one of the biggest Nor’easters in all of time. What made it extra bad, was the fact that it happened on a cold, December day, when there were already extraordinarily high tides. The squad had first responded with an ambulance and rescue boat to the “bayshore” area of Middletown Twp. to assist with the evacuation of its flooded residents. Then, a call was received by neighboring town Rumson, to help evacuate/rescue several residents whose street was flooded with approximately 3-5 feet. Again, the ambulance and boat responded and began removing people from the Waterman Avenue area. Because it was in December, the emergency responders had to wear survival suits to keep themselves warm and dry. After everyone had been rescued, the squad then responded to Wardell Avenue in Rumson, to also remove some residents who were trapped. The next day, Fair Haven sent a relief crew to the Boro of Highlands, to assist them with emergency calls. Highlands had been one of the hardest hit towns in the area because of the flooding.
More recently, following the early news of the disastrous attack on the World Trade Center towers on 9/11/01, Fair Haven First Aid Squad was soon dispatched as a part of a massive Monmouth County response to assist the victims who came by ferry from the Wall Street pier to the Highlands, NJ ferry terminal. At this important staging area, the squad mostly treated the “walking-wounded” victims. Some members later went by ferry, back to New York City, to help assist further victims.
Today, the Fair Haven First Aid Squad operates with about 30 active members, two ambulances, a first responder unit, a heavy rescue unit and 3 boats. In 2005, we celebrated our 75th anniversary.