🚨 Officials say there's an EMS crisis in New Jersey and across the nation

🚨 Medstar, a county-run EMS operation, went live on Monday

🚨 The service is starting with a specific service area, before expanding

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — Monmouth County is standing up its own emergency medical services operation, to take on a shortage of volunteer EMTs and subpar response times.

Medstar, an initiative led by the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office, handled its first call Monday morning out of Oakhurst and already has full- and part-time professionals ready to assist with existing volunteer EMS squads in the county.

"Volunteer EMS units play a crucial role in serving communities, but challenges have resulted in staffing shortages that are impacting response time and safety, so we are here to help," said Sheriff Shaun Golden.

Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden runs a press conference about the launch of Medstar. (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)
Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden leads a press conference about the launch of Medstar. (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)

According to the Sheriff's Office, which held a press conference on Wednesday to announce Medstar's launch, Monmouth County currently ranks 19th in response times among the 21 New Jersey counties.

In 2023, more than 60,000 calls in the county required an ambulance.

Medstar's service area

On Tuesday night, county officials signed paperwork for Medstar operations to take over a firehouse at Fort Monmouth. That's where the Sheriff's Office will station its four ambulances and two quick-response vehicles.

The hub is known as "EMS Central." Golden said it will work with "towns in the central region, from Colts Neck over to Long Branch, from Red Bank on down to Ocean Township."

Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ
Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ

As more rigs are purchased and more individuals are hired, services will expand to assist volunteer EMS squads in other parts of the coastal county.

"This is here to supplement; it's not here to take over," said Michael Bascom, EMS coordinator for Monmouth County.

Medstar's launch has been years in the making. The EMS industry has been in crisis mode locally and nationally due to a shortage of career and volunteer EMTs.

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