With Thanksgiving just a week away, many of us are looking to give back locally. Grassroots organizations and mutual aid are the backbone of our communities — especially here in Essex County. The majority of the county relies on volunteer fire and rescue departments to respond to fires and administer life saving services in the Montclair area + beyond. Supported heavily by donations, most of these squads consist of a diverse force of volunteer members and with such close proximity to New York City, Essex County fire and rescue squads are quickly able to answer the call for Manhattan’s larger emergencies. More locally, these squads partake in the Essex County Fire Mutual Aid agreement, providing aid to nearby communities when needed. If you’re looking to donate this holiday season, consider supporting your local volunteer emergency response teams. Read on to learn how you can support local fire and rescue squads in Essex County.
Essex Fells Fire Department
Essex Fells Fire Department is a fully volunteer squad that has been serving the people of Essex Fells since 1903. Their current squad has roughly 40 members that respond to fires, vehicular accidents, flooded basements, fallen power lines, and more. You can donate through PayPal.
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Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department
(Photo Credit: @fairfieldnjfire)
The Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department has been serving the community since 1911 providing response and rescue. Recently, they responded to a small plane crash at the Essex County Airport. You can donate online and even rent their hall for events! You can also support them by attending their 44th Annual Pancake Breakfast coming up in the Spring.
Glen Ridge Volunteer Ambulance Squad
(Photo Credit: Glenn Ridge Volunteer Ambulance Squad Facebook)
The Glen Ridge Volunteer Ambulance Squad located at 3 Herman Street Glen Ridge, operates 24/7 responding to medical and trauma emergencies throughout the community. Their current squad consists of 85 volunteers with a diverse mix of backgrounds including high school students, teachers, attorneys, and retirees. In 2019 the squad launched a campaign to fundraise $172,800 in effort to replace their now 15 year old emergency response rig. This truck has logged over 350,000 hours in service responding to over 10,000 calls. You can donate through Paypal, by mail, and through matching gift programs.
Livingston First Aid Squad
(Photo Credit: Livingston First Aid Squad’s Facebook)
The Livingston First Aid Squad, founded in 1950, is a fully volunteer squad. The team and their four rigs serve over 30,000 members. The squad does not take donations over the phone, but they do accept donations by Paypal. They also send out a mailer for their annual donation twice a year.
Livingston Volunteer Fire Department
The Livingston Volunteer Fire Department has been in operation since 1921. Their first engine known as “Mary Ann” served the rural community. Now, they boast three stations and staff a team of over 70 volunteer firefighters and three volunteer Deputy Chiefs. You can donate through the link on their website.
Montclair Ambulance Unit
(Photo Credit: @montclairems)
The Montclair Ambulance Unit has been serving the Montclair community since 1953 responding to over 185,000 calls. They are currently hiring EMT-I and EMT-II workers. The unit also offers a variety of courses such as CPR/AED, CABS, Heartsaver First Aid, and more. They receive no support from the township and rely heavily on donations. You can assist by donating online, by donating your spare change through RoundUp, by shopping through Amazon Smile, and more.
Millburn-Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad
Since 1958 the Millburn-Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad has been serving Millburn Township. Last year they responded to 1330 calls, a 13.5% increase from 2020. Their website includes a detailed statistics sheet which provides an overview on call rates, what kinds of calls they respond to, and where they respond. You can support by donating through PayPal and by volunteering.
Safety First Vailsburg Rescue Squad
The Safety First Vailsburg Rescue Squad was founded by local residents and business owners who wanted to reduce the waiting time for EMS by providing pre-hospital emergency medical care. The squad’s main areas are within Newark’s West Ward, also known as the Vailburg or Ivy Hill section. You can donate by credit card or check.
South Orange Rescue Squad
(Photo Credit: @sorescue)
The South Orange Rescue Squad serves South Orange, Maplewood, and a section of Newark. Located at 62 Sloan Street South Orange, this squad is fully supported by donations. They have around 60 staff members and four rigs. This squad was the first in the county to begin carrying hemostatic gauze, aspirin, and CPAP in their ambulances. They were also the first department under the RWJ-Barnabas system to begin carrying albuterol. The squad offers free classes on identifying opiate overdoses and how to administer Narcan. At the end of the course all participants receive a box of Narcan to use in a life saving event. You can donate through Paypal and by check. For those interested in taking CPR classes through the squad, your course fees are direct donations as well.
Roseland Fire Department
(Photo Credit: Roseland Fire Department’s Facebook)
The Roseland Fire Department has been serving response and rescue to the community since 1913. Consisting of an average 40 members, the squad serves 6200 townspeople, several office complexes, schools, industrial sites, and houses of worship. They respond to a variety of calls pertaining to vehicular accidents, electrical fires, fire alarms, car fires, structure fires, rescues, and more. You can donate online.
Verona Rescue Squad
The Verona Rescue Squad is a volunteer squad dependent on the donations of residents and local businesses. The rescue squad located at 12 Church Street Verona has been serving the community since 1927. The squad operates 24/7 and typically responds to over 1600 calls per year (on average four per day). Membership is open to anyone 16 or older and training and uniforms are provided free of charge. Another way to support the squad is to donate. You can donate through PayPal and by shopping through Amazon Smile. Throughout the year, there are also numerous events such as 50/50 raffles, Sip + Paint events, Pancake Breakfasts held by the squad at the Verona Community Center, and fundraising meal events held by Lakeside Deli.
West Essex First Aid Squad
The West Essex First Aid Squad serves over 35,000 citizens in Fairfield, Roseland, Caldwell, North Caldwell, and West Caldwell. In 2021 they responded to 2378 calls, a little over 100 more than this year’s response of 2216 (as of 10/25). Amongst their communities, they service numerous businesses, 21 schools, five major hotels, three nursing homes, two assisted living facilities, and an airport. You can donate online or by mail. They also suggest leaving a lasting legacy upon the community by naming the squad as a benefactor in your will. They also provide a detailed overview of their operating costs to educate people on what they require to operate.
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West Caldwell Volunteer Fire Department
The West Caldwell Volunteer Fire Department serves almost 11,000 citizens by responding to fire emergencies, hazardous material incidents, and more. With the squad staffed by approximately 60 members, taxpayers save over a million dollars annually. Since its inception, the squad has been served by over 300 members and saw their first female applicant in 2000. To support, you can donate through PayPal.