During a February 1942 cold snap, eight people lost their lives in Wayne Township in the span of a week; two died in a fire, five in a traffic accident, and one was hit by a train. Without a first aid squad of their own, township residents at that time relied on ambulance services from neighboring communities and nearby Paterson hospitals when sickness or injury struck. A handful of concerned citizens formed the Wayne Township Memorial First Aid Squad in 1943.

A year later, with a recycled 1942 Buick hearse for an ambulance and a facility secured — on the Oak Street property of the organization’s first president, William Taylor — the squad answered its first call September 1, 1944. Before long, the Wayne squad also began providing mutual aid to other communities.

Seventy-five years later, the squad is thriving, with 80 active members, all emergency medical technicians (EMT), answering 5,115 calls last year.

Today’s squad boasts five ambulances, a heavy rescue mobile ambulance bus, mass casualty trailers, chiefs’ cars and two boats. Headquarters is now on Rohrbach Memorial Way. The Hamburg Pike satellite building still allows the squad to better assist the township’s approximately 55,000 residents spread over nearly 24 square miles.

For information on joining the Wayne Township Memorial First Aid Squad, visit www.waynefas.org, call 973-694-9263 or stop by one of the squad building,

– Fire News photos provided by Sylvie Mulvaney