Clinton First Aid and Rescue Squad lent personnel and equipment to the Virgin Island’s rescue and recovery efforts from hurricanes Irma and Maria through its participation in the New Jersey EMS Task Force. The NJ EMS Task Force was formed after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and consists of more than 200 career and volunteer EMS professionals that respond to naturally-occurring and human-caused disasters.

Clinton volunteer Emergency Medical Technician Tim Shanahan joined a 50-person team from New Jersey who answered a mutual aid request for specialized EMS teams from the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Emergency Management Agency.

Shanahan, 24, was sent along with Clinton’s off-road, six-wheel specialty ambulance – an Alternative Support Apparatus, or ASAP unit. Other ASAP units from the state were also dispatched, as they can bring medical workers and supplies to remote parts of the islands made impassable to typical vehicles and ambulances by the hurricanes.

The EMS units were joined by the New Jersey State Police Troopers, who are providing a protective detail to personnel, and New Jersey Disaster Mental Health Counselors.

“We are flying into St. Thomas, and once we get there, we will have a better idea of where our help is most needed,” Shanahan said shortly before leaving. The emergency personnel, ASAPs and other equipment were transported in military C-17s that departed from McGuire Air Force Base. The US Air Force at McGuire prepared and shipped five plane loads of equipment, supplies and personnel for the mission.

Clinton’s ASAP specialty ambulance is one of 21 in New Jersey. The specialty ambulance has been put to work locally since it was acquired in 2014 as part of a competitive grant process funded with Department of Homeland Security funds. The ASAP has been used for off-road rescues and for all types of emergency responses during major snowstorms, for example.

Clinton’s Deputy Chief for EMS H. Bucky Buchanan, a module manager with the NJ EMS Task Force, helped planned the effort and also provided incident management support.

Shanahan, who makes his living managing a horse farm, has been a volunteer Clinton First Aid & Rescue EMT for more than a year. He has been a volunteer firefighter with Raritan Township Fire Company for nine years, including time served as a junior before he turned 18.

Shanahan was motivated to help people in the Virgin Islands for the same reasons he helps people in New Jersey. “It’s a way to give back to the community,” he said. “My mom always told me I’m the happiest when I’m helping others.”

Learn more about Clinton First Aid and Rescue Squad, or sign up to volunteer, at The Power to Save Others is in Your Hands. SHARE IT.