HOWELL – Christine Bennett-Fary wants the best for the Howell-Farmingdale Volunteer First Aid Squad, and she won’t rest until they get it.
Through a Facebook fundraiser, Bennett-Fary, the current vice president of the squad, is trying to raise $5,000 for up-to-date equipment for the squad, which is the oldest in town.
“We have the oldest Squad in town created in 1947, and in those 70 years we’ve seen many changes, but up until the last 15 or 20 it’s been a struggle to keep up,” she explained. “Especially now a lot of what we do is state monitored and mandated.”
As a part of the Howell Township EMS billing system, Bennett-Fary noted that the volunteer squad receives a small percentage of income from the one rig that is used to bill patients’ insurance. Of four total rigs, this is the only rig that is used for billing; the other three are non-billing, she said.
“Unfortunately, what we do get from billing barely covers every day running expenses,” she added.
Created on July 10, the fundraiser has only raised $465 of its total goal as of July 24.
“There’s even been weekends, rain or shine, they [the squad] were doing coin tosses at the Collingwood flea market just to give us some better supplies and equipment,” said Bennett-Fary.
The funds, if raised, will be used to purchase two “tough tablets” to help facilitate the billing process, portable suction units for the rigs, and AED units.
The tablets can cost anywhere from $3,000-$5,000 each.
“The biggest issue we run into is…the supplies are costly! For example, pediatric AED pads, one set is approximately $100 and we need to have at least two sets for each of our 8 AED units. So you see some of the most important items put a big dent in our budget,” she said.
Not only does the squad require these costly pieces of equipment to function, but there is also the added cost of basic items like blood pressure cuffs, pulse oximeter, stethoscopes, and bandages that need to be accounted for as well.
Ideally, Bennett-Fary noted that the squad would like to invest in some mechanical upgrades and improvements to their communication systems as well. Keeping all of this equipment up-to-date is essential to facilitate the work they do.
“I could go on forever with what we really need to do to continue running our squad but my biggest concern is having up-to-date and functional equipment so we can give the best possible service to our communities,” said Bennett-Fary.
The fundraiser is still ongoing via Facebook, administered by Bennett-Fary. If you would like to donate, you can do so at facebook.com/donate/1759339277483874/10157025691093274/.
The squad is always looking for more volunteers as well.