Tabernacle’s emergency response organizations responded to nearly 400 calls in the first months of 2021, according to reports at a township committee meeting on April 26.
Tabernacle Rescue Squad (TRS) ran 320 calls in its first quarter and volunteers logged more than 4,500 hours, Fire Chief George Jackson III told the committee. Tabernacle’s fire company responded to 61 calls, about half of which were to aid neighboring towns, said newly appointed Chief Keith Zane.
TRS Vice President Jamie Wood provided an update on a potential shared services agreement between the squad and Shamong emergency services, noting that she is “excited” for the future.
“We don’t have a signed contract, but we’re at the point where I feel we all feel comfortable that we can bring it to the forefront,” Wood said.
She said the agreement is in its final stages and will help combat burnout that each of the organizations has experienced due to a lack of volunteers.
“If we broaden our horizons, we’ll become definitely stronger together and better together,” Wood explained. “Nobody will last in a small town unless we start doing some form of regionalization. That’s the way of the future.”
Mayor Kimberly Brown lauded the organizations’ efforts.
“As we all know, volunteers are the backbone of any community,” she noted. “It’s nice to be able to work to make the organization stronger, more viable, and spare some of the volunteers’ down time.”
Zane said he will present a 10-year plan for the fire company at May’s township committee meeting and noted that the group plans to welcome two new firefighters in coming months.
“I think you folks are moving light years ahead,” said committee member Samuel Moore. “Instead of tomorrow, you’re looking at months ahead. I haven’t seen an unhappy face in the fire department.”
Also at the meeting, Township Engineer Dante Guzzi explained plans to improve infrastructure in Tabernacle. Several road improvement projects are in the works, including repaving on Oakshade Road, Hoffman Road and Eldorado Drive.
Guzzi added that his department is also working on grant applications for future projects.
Committee member and Emergency Management Coordinator Robert Sunbury noted that COVID vaccinations are now available for anyone who wants to receive one.
“I encourage anyone who hasn’t gotten vaccinated to please step up,” he said.
The next township committee meeting will be held on Monday, May 10. Preregistration is required to attend the webinar.