Emergency medical technicians from the Tri-Boro First Aid Squad will start their first overnight shift based out of the 's building on Jamaica Boulevard tonight, Township Council President James J. Byrnes said.
"They are going to provide support from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.," Byrnes said. "They are able to do a shared service with us to get it going."
The Tri-Boro EMTs will provide services temporarily, until the township hires their own, he said.
"They are able to do a shared service with us, at no cost to the taxpayers," Byrnes said. "The EMT's will be local people. They are going to know the neighbors and the neighborhood. The service should be better."
Township officials worked on a plan earlier this summer to supplement first aid coverage in the senior communities at night, as squad memberships continued to drop.
"We have a very serious problem," Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. said at the Aug. 14 Township Council meeting. "Response times in the senior communities at night are longer and longer. As the years go by, it becomes more difficult to get volunteers."
Township Councilman Thomas Grosse said then that public safety committee members met with first aid squad representatives to discuss the "dwindling numbers" in squads in the senior communities.
Age, illness, seniors who have to work, and an increase in required training hours from 140 hours to 195 hours have contributed to the problem, Grosse has said.
The EMT service will come at no cost to taxpayers, unlike MONOC paramedics, who billed residents separately for their services. The new EMT service will bill Medicaid for the cost of answering calls. Residents will not have to pay above and beyond what Medicare pays, township officials have said.
"They're not going to get hit with extra charges," Byrnes said.
The first aid squads in the senior communities will continue to work as they always have, Amato has said.
Byrnes also said the township is planning to paint house numbers in blue on curbs in the senior communities to make it easier for emergency responders to locate homes.