The Plainsboro Rescue Squad (PRS) provides ambulance service to the Plainsboro community. We respond to 9-1-1 calls and attend to sick and injured people and incident scenes. We are a Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance service as defined by the New Jersey Office of Emergency Medical Services (NJOEMS). This allows us to provide a certain level of on-scene medical attention and transportation to local hospitals. When called upon, we also provide standby ambulance services at sporting and community events. You will likely see us on the sidelines of a West Windsor-Plainsboro North football game, for example.
The Township currently staffs one ambulance crew for 12 hours per day, Monday through Friday. This is called “Plainsboro Township EMS”. If the Township were to provide 24-hour per day coverage (something the Township has not committed to providing), an additional 6 to 8 employees would be needed. Still, that would only provide a single crew at a time. At least once per week, multiple calls come in a short amount of time such that two or more ambulances are needed simultaneously. Most PRS members keep their pagers on at all times so they can respond when this occurs. In the few instances where more than three ambulances are needed, the dispatcher calls a neighboring town for assistance. Other towns respond because our squad responds to them when they are unable to handle their high call volume.
In the suburbs (like Plainsboro), it is vital to have volunteers so that there are sufficient crews available when multiple ambulances are needed. In cities, there are usually several stations with overlapping coverage areas to handle these situations. It would be impractical to have paid staff waiting on second and third assignments in an area like ours. PRS volunteers have provided this coverage for more than 30 years—with many more to come.
We do it because we love what we do, and we know we are needed, but we also need support from the community. Donations and volunteers are always needed.
Is PRS part of the Plainsboro Fire Department? No. We are a separate organization, but work closely with the Fire Department during emergencies where medical service may be needed. Some members of the rescue squad are also firefighters.
Are members of the rescue squad Plainsboro Township employees? No. We are strictly volunteers. Plainsboro Township provides dispatching of all 9-1-1 calls from a central location. Plainsboro police are also dispatched for medical emergencies.
Aren't there some paid Emergency Medical Technicians? Yes, but this is not PRS. The Township provides two paid EMTs Monday through Friday, 6am to 6pm. This organization is called “Plainsboro Township EMS”. This paid service is necessary because most of the volunteers have daytime jobs. However, even during the workday, locally working volunteers provide backup to Plainsboro Township EMS.
But the township provides the fancy ambulances, right? No—just the opposite. PRS acquires the ambulances used by both PRS and Plainsboro Township EMS through fundraising activities and charitable grants. The ambulances and other equipment are maintained by PRS.
What are with the various uniforms I see people wearing?
The daytime paid crew typically wear a “dress uniform” consisting of a blue shirt and dark pants.
Volunteers are supplied a number of different uniforms:
Will I receive a bill when the rescue squad comes to my home or business? Not if PRS handles the call. Plainsboro Township EMS, however, does charge for providing services. If it determined that Advanced Life Support (ALS) is needed, paramedics may be dispatched to provide additional care, and those services will be billed by the hospital that sponsors the paramedics. This may be confusing because the bill is likely to say something like “for ambulance service”. That is not us. PRS does not charge for anything. If you have questions, please contact your insurance company or call the number listed on your bill.
Can I call PRS for non-emergency transport to the hospital? No. We have to remain available for emergencies, so we will not provide non-emergency services.
When I call 9-1-1, the police come first. Can't I just get PRS without the police? Plainsboro Township police are trained to assist with many medical emergencies. They are also there for the safety of everyone on the scene including the rescue squad crew.
I was asked to sign a document when I didn't want to go to the hospital. Why was that? When a person dials 9-1-1 for a medical emergency, it is assumed that the injury or illness is severe enough that the person needs to go to the hospital. If during the assessment the patient decides not to go to the hospital, it is their decision to do so as long as they are medically competent to make that decision. We ask patients to sign a Release from Medical Assistance (RMA) form to release the PRS crew from future liability associated the patient's decision. However, if someone changes their mind, we will gladly take them to the hospital. We will always trasnport a patient to the hospital when they want to go, but we cannot force them under most circumstances.
Will I be seen by a doctor sooner if I am transported by ambulance? No. Priority is based on the seriousness of the illness or injury, not whether you were transported by an ambulance. If the emergency room is busy, the hospital staff may ask you to wait in the triage area to be seen.
Do all patients go to Princeton Medical Center? Princeton is the closest hospital, and most patients choose to go there. However, depending on the type of medical emergency, the EMTs or paramedics may suggest a more appropriate hospital for the circumstances. Helene Fuld Hospital in Trenton and Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick are Trauma Centers that have staff specially trained to deal with serious injuries. You may also choose to go to a different hospital such as Robert Wood Johnson in Hamilton, Mercer Hospital, or Saint Peters. We will try to accomodate your request, but may advise otherwise depending on such factors as weather conditions or if a hospital is on divert.
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