In the fall of 1977, a crew-cut grey-haired gentleman spoke to the Tamarac homeowner’s association and invited them to an organizational meeting to discuss forming a rescue squad to serve the southern portion of the township.
That gentleman was Bill Mathews, the driving force behind the creation of what was to become the Medford Emergency Medical Services.
In January 1978, after two years of planning, Lakes Emergency Squad was incorporated and commenced training and preparations to provide emergency medical services to neighbors, visitors and businesses in Medford. Before the squad had an ambulance, they acquired two Plectron radios tuned to the to the township's existing emergency squad's (Medford Emergency Squad) alerting tones and through the use of a telephone chain were able to respond to medical emergencies south of Tuckerton Road. The members' yellow jackets were often on scene rendering aid long before an ambulance arrived.
With the aid and support of the Lakes Fire Company (now Taunton Fire Company) we raised funds and literally built our building adjacent to the Fire Company building located on Fairview Road.
Lakes Emergency Squad went into full service at noon, October 13, 1978 and answered its first call at 10:00 PM that night, a motor vehicle accident on Chestnut Road. The patients were treated and transported to Garden State Hospital, Marlton (now Virtua Marlton).
Lakes Emergency Squad was instrumental in the creation of the Medford Township Emergency Medical Services Department which coordinated the operations of the two squads operating in Medford Township.
Through the years, the squad call volume continued to grow along with extensive building in the southern portion of the Township. In 1985 Lakes Emergency Squad was given the added responsibility for Oakwood Lakes and Sherwood Forest developments. That year the squad delivered its first baby, twins.
In 1986, Lakes Emergency Squad spearheaded action that led to the provision of liability insurance for both Township squads and maintained a strong presence on the Medford Emergency Medical Services Advisory Board.
1990 saw the creation of the Police EMT Unit which provided daytime assistance in providing emergency care while most members were out of town at their daytime jobs. That was also when Lakes Emergency Squad assumed responsibility for the entire township. In 1991, the squad changed its name to Medford Volunteer Emergency Medical Services to more accurately reflect its mission.
By 1993, planning commenced for a new building to support the expanded township-wide operations.
In 1994, the squad had the opportunity to provide uncommon assistance to the Police Department. Thieves had struck the Fashion Bug in Taunton Forge Shopping Center. Shortly after a description of the vehicle was broadcast over the police radio, the ambulance crew spotted the fleeing thieves, radioed their location and observed them from a safe distance until they were apprehended.
In 1996, the Veterans of Foreign Wars named the Medford Police EMT Unit as the “Outstanding Law Enforcement Unit”. Lakes Emergency Squad was named “Outstanding Medical Services Unit.”
1996 saw the hiring of paid EMT’s to provide emergency medical service from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM Monday through Friday. This relieved the police EMTs of the responsibility of answering emergency medical calls.
In 1998, the squad once again changed its name. Because the week day daytime crew was paid, "volunteer" had to be removed and the new name was, and still is, Medford Emergency Medical Services. That year also saw the initiation of billing for our services to cover the costs of the paid EMTs.
The squad's Bike Team went into service in 2002 providing rapid response for such events as the Halloween Parade, Fourth of July Fireworks and the Medford Professional Bike Race.
The culmination of many years of work ended with the dedication of the William Matthews III Medford Emergency Medical Services Building on December 14, 2002.
In 2006, the squad won the Burlington County Municipal Joint Insurance Fund Safety Incentive Program.
Since 1978, the squad has responded to a full range of medical emergencies from airplane crashes to ice storms, blizzards, water rescues and fog shrouded motor vehicle accidents. During 2007 the squad responded to 1,689 calls to aid the residents of and visitors to Medford.
Currently Medford Emergency Medical Services has 3 ambulances in service as well as 3 command vehicles. The career staff and volunteer members respond to over 2,000 calls annually.
The strength of our Squad has always come from the professionalism and dedication of its members. There are far too many names of those who have contributed significantly to our service to be mentioned here. We thank those who have been a part of the past thirty years and trust that we will continue to find the same caliber of people to serve Medford Township residents and visitors in the future.
We invite anyone who feels the need to give back to our community to come and join us in this worthwhile endeavor.