Tabernacle Rescue Squad History

The squad has provided 55 years of service to the residence of Tabernacle Township. It all began in 1952 when members of the Medford Farms Fire Co and other citizens of Tabernacle Township decided to start a new organization the Medford Farms Emergency Squad. In 1953 the squad began with a used 1939 LaSalle ambulance that was housed in the little firehouse with the fire trucks on Hawkins Road. After the first year, the squad decided to buy a second ambulance a 1940 Ford ambulance from the Browns Mills Emergency Squad. After a few years, quarters were cramped and it was decided to build a squad building across the street from the firehouse. The two-bay dirt-floored squad building was finished in 1957 and is the current location of the building today.

During the 1960’s the squad continued serving, buying several used ambulances to replace the older ambulances. The ambulances of the day were Cadillac, Oldsmobile and Pontiacs. Members were alerted using a telephone party line and the firehouse siren.

During the 1970s the squad saw a large amount of growth. A concrete floor was poured. A kitchen, storage room, bathrooms, and boiler room were also added to make the building a little more civilized. The squad began to run bingo as a fundraiser. A six-foot addition was added to the building for the tables and bingo equipment. In 1974, the township Committee purchased a Dodge Van Ambulance for the squad. This was the first vehicle purchased by the township for the squad, and also the first new vehicle ever used by the squad. The squad continued purchasing used ambulances including a Suburban from America Squad and a Cadillac. The squad recognizing the need for an off-road vehicle acquired a 1953 Military Dodge ambulance from the NJFFS. The members put in countless hours building the truck. The squad needing more space added the final addition to the station including two bays and storage for the bingo tables. In 1978 the squad purchased a used 1974 Ford Horton ambulance from Pennsauken. The squad also added a set of state of the art Porto-a-Power for vehicle extrication. The end of the 70's sawed the beginning of a thing called Central Communications, and the telephone party line gave way to pagers and CB radios The CB radios were purchased for the squad by member Donald Spaeth

The 1980s was the hay day of the Squad. The Squad, which was covering two townships, Tabernacle and Shamong Townships, was running nearly a 1000 calls a year. In 1980 and 1981 the Squad moved up from buying used ambulances and purchased two demonstrator ambulances, a Starline van, and a PL Custom modular ambulance. 1983 saw the purchase of the First set of the Jaws of Life. In 1984 the Squad purchased their first new ambulance a Ford type III Horton ambulance. The ambulance became the first rescue truck for the squad with hydraulic tools. During the 1980s the Squad purchased several ambulances and other high tech equipment including a Life PAK 5. The squad was the only Squad in the area that owned a Life Pak 5 and it was loaned to the Memorial Hospital paramedics several times when their only unit broke. The Military Dodge was replaced with a 1986 Ford Bronco designed by then Captain George Jackson Jr. The Squad in 1988 decided to changes its name to the TABERNACLE RESCUE SQUAD. The name change was for a few reasons. First, the Squad wanted to use the name of the township that it served. Rescue Squad came from a nickname given to the squad by the Troopers at Red Lion; they referred to the Squad as “The Rescue Squad.” The last reason was the difficulty in getting patient information from the hospital because the squad was confused with Medford or Lakes Emergency Squad in Medford.

The 1990s saw a group of members break off from the Squad and form Shamong EMS. Call volume dropped but the Squad stayed busy. In 1991 The Squad bought a Demo Ambulance that was new to the area. It was a Medium Duty Chassis ambulance that replaced the smaller rescue. This was the first type of this ambulance in the area and Burlington County. It would serve as the Rescue truck until 2006. In 1990 a used chief car was purchased and in 1992 it was replaced by a new chief car a Crown Vic.  In 1997 the Squad remounted the 1984 Horton because of this great condition. It was a great savings to the Squad when money was tight. This truck is also still in service today. In 1999 the Squad purchased another ambulance. The ambulance was a new ambulance that been wrecked. The Squad purchased the box part of the ambulance had it completely refurbished and saved about 35,000 dollars in the process.

During this decade the Squad has made great strides and improvements. In 2005 the township approved the purchase of a new rescue truck. The 300,000 dollars expenditure moved the rescue program back in the forefront and up with the times. This rescue delivered in November 2006 was the second vehicle purchased by the township for the Squad. The rescue also propelled the rescue program into was it is today. The Squad and fire company now share duties manning the truck and members train and work side by side. The Squad also purchased a new 2006 Horton to replace the old rescue. The Squad was chosen by the County OEM as one of two sites to house and operate a County Mass Casualty Trailer. MC 43 is ready to be deployed to a major incident in a county and holds equipment to treat over 50 patients.

Early in 2010 the Squad set out to replace our 1997 Horton Ambulance with a new state of the art Horton Ambulance. This new Ambulance had many new features including airbags, taller patient compartment, and a lower side step for entry and exit of the Ambulance. Also in 2010 the Squad set out in a joint venture with the Township to build a new base of operations for the Squad. This project had been ongoing for several years after it had become apparent that the Squad had outgrown its existing location on Hawkins Road. After month of planning the township committee approved a Bond referendum to build the new Township Emergency Services Building. However, several concerned residents got a petition together and were able to successfully have the building placed on the November ballot for public vote. After several months of public education about the need for the new building the residents approved the bond referendum. This new building was not only going to be the new base of operations for the Tabernacle Rescue Squad it would also serve as the home of the Tabernacle Township Office of Emergency Management, Pinelands CERT team, and act as the townships Emergency Operations Center. The location of the new Tabernacle Township Emergency Services building was chosen after careful consideration of the population of Tabernacle as well as the emergency responders. On February 26th 2011 ground was officially broken on New Road behind Nixon’s General Store and shortly after the building process began. It took about one year to build and on February 17th 2012 the Tabernacle Rescue Squad officially relocated to the New Road Station and for the first time in the history of the Squad we were operating out of a building not located on Hawkins Road.

In addition to the New Station, the Squad had seen a great expansion in its services and how it provided service to the residents. In early 2011 the Squad saw an increase in Responses for its Emergency Services Rehab unit throughout the county. The Squad was also now one of four Squads in the county selected to be a designated Rehab. With this designation, the County provided the Squad with a large Cache of equipment to use for these incidents. Seeing that taking the Townships only Rescue Truck out of town for Rehab as not a great use of resources and the amount of equipment we were to receive the Squad decided it was time to purchase a new (used) vehicle that would be solely used for this purpose. After much research, the Squad located a 1990 Ford EVI Super Duty Walk-in Rescue Truck that belonged to the Lorraine Volunteer Fire Co in Lorraine, New York and decided to purchase the vehicle. It was a great purchase and great cost savings to the Squad since it was used. The truck was a great addition to the Squad and has responded to multiple large incidents including the multiple alarm fire at Dietz and Watson in Delanco.

With everything from the New Building to all of the other expanded services of the Squad the Leadership of the Squad met and felt it was time to move the Squad another step forward in providing the best possible coverage for Tabernacle residents. At the beginning of 2013, it was decided that a new Duty Crew Policy would be implemented to provide guaranteed 24-hour response coverage to any call within the Squad's service area. Prior to this the Squad only had a duty crew on during the evening/early morning. This left the daytime and other times largely open and with the possibility of a missed response.  With the 24 hour coverage in place, the Squad began the process of becoming a state licensed agency. The licensing process was a long tedious process but once completed it made sure that the Squad met all the requirements set forth by the State Department of Health and also allowed the Squad to now carry more advanced medical equipment such as items like the Epi-pen. On February 1st, 2013 the Squad took a large step in operations when it began to bill for service. This was not an easy decision for the Squad but with the economy in recession and townships cutting funding across the state it was decided this was in the best interest of the Squad to begin to Bill for service.   







MARCH  83 
APRIL  68 
MAY  74 
JUNE  103 
JULY  95
YTD  816


MARCH  166 
APRIL  73 
MAY  86 
JUNE  77 
JULY  79 
YTD  1038


MARCH  91 
APRIL  92 
MAY  88 
JUNE  84 
JULY  78 
YTD  1034




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