Martinsville Rescue Squad

Proudly providing volunteer emergency service to Martinsville and Bridgewater, NJ since 1957
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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
We answer some of the questions we hear most frequently from those who use our service.


Questions about calling '911' and what happens after calling:

Was I wrong to call 911?
When I call 911 what information should I have available?
How quickly will help arrive?
Why did so many people come?
Should I go to the hospital?
Will you transport to any hospital?


Questions on healthcare resources and tips:


What is the number for poison control?
What is the best way to control bleeding?
How can I recognize if someone is having a heart attack?
Should I buy a defibrillator for my home or workplace?


Q: Was I wrong to call 911?
A: No!  It is better to be safe than sorry, so when in doubt please call.  We don't mind coming to help you.  If your situation turns out to not be an emergency we will be just as happy about that as you are!

Q: When I call 911 what information should I have available?


A: When you call 911 a police dispatcher will ask you for your location, the nature of the illness or injury, and the age and gender of the person affected.  Based on the nature of the illness or injury, the dispatcher will ask more specific follow-up questions to determine what resources your emergency requires.  While our squad is dispatched for any medical emergency, the paramedics may be dispatched if the illness or injury is potentially life-threatening, and the fire department and gas company will be dispatched if symptoms match those of carbon monoxide poisoning.

A: If a "first responder" is available, help will arrive in about 2 to 5 minutes.  A squad member who is a first responder is equipped with a defibrillator, oxygen, and other tools and supplies to help assess and treat patients.  Bridgewater police officers are frequently dispatched to area 911 calls and often are the first to arrive.  Many Bridgewater officers are trained EMTs and all are trained in first aid.  On average our duty crew arrives with the ambulance in about 11 minutes.  The ambulance arrives more quickly at those places closer to our squad building.  Ambulance response time can also depend on weather conditions and the time of day (response is usually slower at night when crew members are asleep).

A: The number of people who come depends on the nature of the emergency.  If the emergency is potentially life-threatening, then a lot of people may show up.  Responders will likely include one or more police officers, one or more squad first responders, the rescue squad duty crew (usually 2 to 4 people), and the paramedics (usually 2 people).  It may seem like a lot, but in a life-threatening emergency there is a lot to do and it must be done quickly.  More responders help get the appropriate care rendered more quickly.  If the emergency is not life-threatening, fewer people will come to your aid.  In this case the responders typically will be only the squad duty crew members and perhaps a Bridgewater police officer.

A: We aren't doctors.  While we can treat some signs and symptoms, we can't diagnose them to determine underlying causes and problems.  That is best done at a hospital.  If you are unsure if you need to go to a hospital, our recommendation will always be that you should go.  If you decide not to go, we will ask you to sign a release form that states that you are refusing our offer of further treatment and transport.  Signing the release does not mean you cannot call us again if your situation should recur or worsen.  If it does, call 911 again and we will return to help you.

A: We will transport you to the nearest appropriate facility.  What facility is appropriate mostly depends on the type and severity of your illness or injury.  For example, a patient with a serious traumatic injury will be taken to the nearest trauma center, usually Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, but for those in the northern part of our coverage area it can be Morristown Memorial.  These trauma centers are the only area hospitals that have surgery teams available on short notice.  If a patient has a life-threatening illness and their condition is unstable, we will most likely transport to Somerset Medical Center because it is the nearest hospital and it will be critically important to stabilize the patient.  If a patient is stable and does not have a serious traumatic injury we will usually agree to transport to the patient's preferred area hospital.  By "area hospital", we mean RWJUH-Somerset, Morristown Memorial, Overlook, Saint Peter's, RWJUH-New Brunswick, and Hunterdon Medical Center.  Other hospitals take us too far away from our coverage area.

Q: What is the number for poison control?
A: Throughout the United States the number for poison control is 1-800-222-1222. 

A: If bleeding is severe, call 911 to get help.  The two main steps to control bleeding are elevation and pressure.  Elevation means raising the part that is bleeding to above heart level.  Apply direct pressure to the bleeding area by placing a sterile or at least clean dressing or towel over the area and pushing down on the area.  Elevation and pressure will control most bleeding.

A: The signs and symptoms of a heart attack vary from individual to individual and can depend on age, sex, and other medical conditions.  Some of the more commonly experienced symptoms include intense prolonged chest pain, a feeling of heaviness or pressure on the chest, unexplained sweating and weakness, and unprovoked shortness of breath.  If any of these symptoms are present immediately call 911.  Delaying the call for help can be fatal.

A: Defibrillators continue to fall in price and are relatively easy to use nowadays, so the question is worth thinking about.  For most families it is probably an unnecessary expense.  If someone in your household has experienced heart problems and has a high risk of heart dysrhythmias, chances are that person has an implanted defibrillator.  Purchasing an "automated external defibrillator" makes the most sense for places where lots of people with unknown medical conditions visit.  Public places like airports, malls, stadiums, and schools are the best candidates for automated external defibrillators.  If you have a business with lots of employees, customers or visitors, you should consider purchasing a defibrillator.  Make sure you and your employees are trained in its use.