Volunteering FAQ

We are turning 70!

It is difficult to imagine what it’s like to be a first-responder before you try. But once you do, you can’t imagine living without this - a child with anaphylaxis breathing freely again after an Epipen injection, an elderly lady relieved after her broken leg pain eases as you apply a traction splint, or reaction of a family after the heart of a loved one starts beating again as you administer CPR.

We invite YOU to join us.

It is more feasible than you might expect. Most of our members have full time jobs and family responsibilities. Training is free and classes take place at the Bergen EMS Training Center in Paramus which is an eight-minute drive from River Edge. You don’t have to be a River Edge resident to join, but you must be within 3 miles when on duty. Read the Q&A below for more details.

If you join and circumstances change - for example you move or are unable to volunteer due to other reasons - skills learned at EMT class will always stay with you. If a loved one is in trouble, you’ll know what to do.

Call us at 201-261-8094 or email at riveredgeems@gmail.com. Or tell us how to reach you.

How much time do I have to dedicate?

Our members are assigned one 12-hour shift per week and a 24-hour shift once a month on a weekend. There are situations when this is not feasible and other scheduling arrangements are made.

Do I have to spend 12 hours in the ambulance building every week?

No. During our shifts we are at home gardening, playing with kids, having dinner with friends, and engaging in other activities no different than any other day. If there is a medical emergency in town, our pagers go off. We get into our cars and drive to the ambulance building where we meet the rest of the crew.

I have a full-time job. Could I make it work?

Many of our volunteers have full time jobs. The shifts usually are 7am to 7pm or 7pm to 7am. Call volume is lower in the evening hours, and very low after midnight. Getting woken up at night for a call is a rather infrequent occurrence.

I have a busy family life. Will I have time to volunteer?

Many of our volunteers have busy family schedules. Time spent responding to calls is a small fraction of the overall shift duration. An average call takes about one hour. We have to be in the vicinity during our shifts, which could mean more time at home with family!

How many calls does REVAS handle?

About 650 per year, which is nearly two calls per day, or one call per 12-hour shift. There are more calls during the day than night, and more calls on weekend days than weekdays.

What if I am sick or on vacation?

We take vacations and do get sick sometimes. There is a process in place to handle these situations. Usually another member is available to cover. In rare cases when nobody else is able to cover the shift, the 911 dispatcher has a way to notify every member in the area. And even that’s not the last resort - we have mutual aid agreements with nearby towns. If it comes to that, they send their ambulance.

I have no medical background. Can I still join?

Absolutely. However, you will need to complete EMT training. The 6-month EMT Program is held in Paramus at the EMS Training Center, which is only an 8-minute drive from River Edge. Classes take place two nights during weekdays and two weekend days per month. You will learn how to splint fractures, stop bleeding, use a defibrillator, listen to lung sounds, assess mental status, recognize stroke, inject an Epipen, assist in delivering a baby, and many more lifesaving skills! The training is free if you join the River Edge Volunteer Ambulance Service.

During your first year, a more senior EMT will be with you on every call to provide guidance while you gain practical experience.

There is a shorter training if you chose to become an ambulance driver.

Is it safe?

Member safety is of paramount importance. We are trained to use gloves, goggles, masks, shields, gowns, and a variety of other protective equipment depending on the situation. River Edge Police Department’s officers always enter scene first and ensure our physical safety.

What medical emergencies take place in River Edge?

We are a quiet town with nearly no crime and just a tiny stretch of a highway, so gruesome scenes are rare. We get falls, fractures, heart attacks, allergic reactions, difficulty breathing, general weakness, abdominal pains, diabetic emergencies, alcohol/drug overdoses, high blood pressure, choking, suicide attempts, and other types of medical emergencies.

What else should I know?

  • Fingerprinting and criminal background check is required for all applicants.
  • You can join if you are at least 16 years old.
  • You have to be within 3 miles from the ambulance building (210 Continental Ave, River Edge) during your shift. That includes all of River Edge and parts of New Milford, Oradell, Hackensack, and Paramus. We also have members who work nearby and are permitted to leave their workplace to respond to calls.