Friday, July 01, 2022

A letter was recently sent to Teaneck residents on behalf of “Bergen Hatzalah.” As the leaders of the Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corps (TVAC) we feel it important to address this communication, as lives depend on it.

First, the local rabbis in our community have not supported this initiative. In fact, in their letter dated September of this year, the RCBC continues to urge the residents of Teaneck to dial 911 in the event of an emergency. This is due to their recognition of what is best for the Teaneck community.

Second, Bergen Hatzalah is not working in partnership with TVAC. There are no agreements in place between our organizations though we have made efforts to incorporate them into our organization. In fact, we created a special level of membership to allow Hatzalah members to join our ranks. While some have accepted this and have made significant contributions to our organization, the majority have not and instead decided to create another EMS agency in our community. This not only causes confusion, but puts lives at risk.

We also want to address other misinformation that is being shared in the community. An ambulance with the appropriate responders is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year in our headquarters. In the event of a high-priority call, off-duty members, who live in all quadrants of our town, are requested to respond directly to a scene as they may be closer than the responding ambulance. In the case of multiple calls, which happens on a near daily basis, off-duty responders are recalled and respond directly to the scene with one to respond for the ambulance. Police, fire and often times paramedics are also requested to initiate life-saving care. This policy ensures the quickest and most efficient response and helps save lives.

When 911 is called, all necessary responders, EMTs, paramedics, police and fire are dispatched simultaneously. Police officers who are trained in first aid and CPR and are equipped with life-saving equipment will initiate care, as they are often first on the scene. When Bergen Hatzalah is called to Teaneck, they rely on one of their responders and not their dispatcher to call for an ambulance, paramedics or additional municipal resources. They are not simultaneously requested by Hatzalah’s dispatchers and this leads to a delayed response.

Hatzalah is a great organization and one that we are supportive of in communities that have poor EMS coverage and where their services are needed. Teaneck is privileged to have a thriving ambulance corps that has been recognized throughout the state as being the gold standard. Our organization is made up of diverse, inclusive, dedicated and highly trained members who are here to serve the entire community.

We recognize that we can’t stop residents from calling Bergen Hatzalah and we will continue to respond to those residents in the same manner as when we are called directly.

Rabbi Neuberger recently shared with the community, “911 as always should be called. This will most speedily bring together the full array of emergency services needed during a time of need.”

Rabbi Fridman also shared with the community this past September, “We equally recognize the critical role that TVAC has played in fostering a great kiddush Hashem within our community, with so many members of our community serving the broader community with dignity” and “any confusion which causes a delay in an emergency itself constitutes a sakanah, which must be immediately removed.”

We continue to urge all of our residents to call 911 in case of emergency.

We thank the entire community for their continued support and are always available to answer any questions.

Eric M. Orgen
President, TVAC
Izzy Infield
Chief, TVAC
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