June 13, 2018

PFARS Is Just the Beginning For Young Rescue Workers

CADETS OFF TO COLLEGE: Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad (PFARS) boasts 18 area high school seniors in its Cadet Program, all headed for four-year colleges. Shown here sporting shirts with the names of the schools they will be attending, the group includes three interested in emergency medicine and several others who plan to study science or medicine.

By Anne Levin

The 18 graduating high school seniors in the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad’s (PFARS) Cadet Program make up one of the largest groups of students to graduate as full emergency medical technicians (EMTs). All of them are headed for college in coming months.

Inspired by their experiences, more than one is planning on a career in emergency medicine. “It’s not unusual that several of them are interested in medicine,” said Mark Freda, PFARS president. “They go through a number of life lessons riding in the ambulance and they learn a lot of new skills. It makes sense.”

The graduating group includes Mary Rose Young (Ramapo College); Catherine Yang (Wellesley College); Anna Zhang, Anjali Badeti, and Harrison Chiu (Rutgers University); Eliz Dikener (Boston University); Katelyn Parsons (Carnegie-Mellon University); Adam Musa, Danial Khan, and Lana Musa (The College of New Jersey); Daniel Hubert (Vanderbilt University); Beth Blizzard (University of Virginia); Zahraa Abbasi and Alden Mallory (University of Colorado Boulder); Charles An and Everett Shen (Princeton University); Oishi Goswami (New York University); and Tony Huang (Brandeis University).

Lana Musa was the squad’s top call-taker for 2017. “She’s going to TCNJ in the BS/MD program. She is totally devoted to emergency medicine,” said Freda. “It’s her goal. What’s good for us is that she’ll be able to continue working with us.”

Freda said many of the program’s graduates who move away from Princeton to attend college serve with the squad while on summer break. “Community service is a big motivation for them. And for many, so is an interest in medicine,” he said.

According to information from PFARS, this year’s graduates have more than 8,000 hours of service between them. They must pass a rigorous course before being admitted to the Cadet Program, where they are trained on all of the modules within the squad before they can function as full EMTs.

PFARS was founded in 1939 and includes 110 members. Emergency medical services are the organization’s primary duty. Volunteers might be helping to deliver a baby one day; and responding to a respiratory emergency or cardiac arrest on another.

The Cadet Program was originally just for males, but that changed in the 1970s. Students can apply at age 16. Those who pass the tests become provisional EMTs until they are 18, when they become full EMTs, according to state law.

“It’s inspiring to see our Cadets contribute so much to the community,” said Freda. “I hope everyone in town knows how fortunate we are to have these dedicated volunteers.”