To the Editor:
Lower Township covers 31 square miles and ranks 84th out of 565 towns in size in New Jersey. It is the only municipality that covers the whole width of any portion of the state, from the Delaware Bay, in Villas, to the Atlantic Ocean, in Diamond Beach.
One emergency rescue squad, located three blocks from the Delaware Bay, in Villas, provides emergency medical services (EMS) for this large area.
Unfortunately, being nine miles and 20 minutes away and having to cross the busy Middle Thorofare drawbridge puts the Diamond Beach residents and summer visitors at high risk in a medical emergency.
Traveling at high speed over that distance also puts emergency and police responders, motorists, and pedestrians at unnecessary risk.
Research indicates an acceptable standard for response time is eight minutes or less. Ideally, it's four minutes for a suspected heart attack.
Many years ago, the Diamond Beach Citizens Action Group (DBCAG) was formed to address a similar situation with fire coverage. It took 25 years and a failing bridge to get a first response agreement, in 2015, with adjacent Wildwood Crest for fire coverage of Diamond Beach.
The DBCAG reformed and its new president, Jim Sandford, recently approached Lower Township Council regarding emergency medical services for Diamond Beach.
Realizing that nearby Wildwood Crest emergency services can reach anywhere in Diamond Beach in four minutes, the council’s response has been supportive and proactive.
Discussions with Wildwood Crest are in the early stages, and we are hopeful and appreciative that a similar first response for EMS can be reached.
ED. NOTE: The author is vice president of DBCAG.