Response Times a ‘Paramount’ Concern in Barnegat

Sep 13, 2017
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Residents living in one of Barnegat Township’s newest developments are concerned about response times from Barnegat emergency response services.

Bob Keeler, a former Beach Haven mayor now living in Paramount Escapes, told township committee members at their Sept. 5 meeting that they should consider setting up an emergency station in the westerly sections of Route 72, where Paramount is located. He said that would also be advantageous to other nearby communities, such as Brighton at Barnegat and Pinewood Estates.

“Most of the growth is happening on the west side of town, but most of the emergency services are located on the east end,” he said. “Barnegat is a big town, with 33 square miles. In the 2010 census, Barnegat’s (population) growth was 37 percent from 2000, and 58 percent from 1990. That is incredible growth in the area here.”

He said that when communities currently under developent in Barnegat are built out, the end result would be between 3,500 and 4,000 homes.

“Barnegat has done a good job in attracting people, but it also gives us challenges as a town,” he said.

Keeler said Paramount, part of which is in Stafford Township, has more than 100 homes built, but when finished would contain 600.

“Most of the people who live there are from North Jersey, where they weren’t concerned about response times because fire companies and first aid squads were at close proximity,” he said. “Now they find themselves living in a more remote area.”

He noted that the Barnegat First Aid Squad handles calls on weekdays from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and 24 hours on weekends. Quality Medical Transport responds on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“Quality has five ambulances, so maybe they can keep one domiciled at the Pinewood Estates Firehouse,” said Keeler, referring to the fire company the township disbanded in 2014. “That might give us some peace of mind.”

Committeeman John Novak, emergency services liaison, said he has had discussions with the police department concerning the firehouse.

“You’re on the right track, but we’re not there yet,” he said. “Its strategic location to our growth centers of our municipality cannot be overlooked. All options are on the table, and that’s all I can say for now.”

Mayor Albert Bille added, “While we haven’t had an abundance of emergency calls in there, we’ve had enough to be of concern, and we will be here to continue to work with you,” he said.

A week after the meeting, members of the first aid squad, fire department, police department and Quality Medical met with Paramount residents at the development’s clubhouse.

“It was well attended and we had some questions answered,” said Keller. “It was pointed out to me that some officers are EMTs. Since they’re often the ones that arrive first on a medical emergency call, they can begin doing first aid work while the ambulance is on the way.”

— Eric Englund

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