Most First Aid Squads consider themselves family, but the Chester First Aid Squad has taken it to the next level by appointing Russi and Cris Champi in leadership roles.
The Champi's are the first mother-daughter team to take the reins at CFAS. Russi Champi, a 15-year squad veteran, assumes the role of President after serving in various administrative and line officer positions in prior years. Daughter Cris Champi, a six-year squad veteran, assumes the role of Chief after previously serving in various line officer positions.
The Line and Administrative Officers for 2013 include:
- President: Russi Champi
- Vice President
- Mary Robinson
- Recording Secretary
- Michael Mastro
- Treasurer: Julia Robinson
Administrative officers are responsible for the business aspect of the squad, including facilitating meetings, and maintaining finances.
- Chief: Cris Champi
- Deputy Chief: Michael Mastro
- Lieutenant: Stephen Ilnitzki
- Sergeant: Skyler Fraenkel
Line Officers are responsible for managing all emergency responses and the overall operational function of the squad.
- Quartermaster: Samuel Rosenfeld
- Chief Engineer: Eric Kaleda
- Training Officer: Becky Banzon
- Community Relations: Sophie Rosenfeld
“It is an honor and privilege to serve with the Chester First Aid Squad, and a real pleasure to be working with my daughter Cris, the new Chief," Russi Champi said. " Our members give innumerable hours back to their community, caring for the injured and sick with pride and professionalism, and they commit to many hours of required training. We are so very lucky to have our members personify our motto, 'Neighbors Helping Neighbors'."
Not to be outdone, Cris Champi echoed the excitement of working with her mother and the squad in the role of chief.
“The Squad holds a special spot in my heart and I am honored to take the lead, along with my mother, to serve the community for another year. I can’t express enough how very worthwhile and fulfilling volunteering is," Cris Champi said. "With our officers and amazing members, plus the Police Departments and Fire Company, we have an outstanding Emergency Services Group. I look forward to a great year.”
Record Number of Service Calls
The change in the guard come after a busy 2012 year which saw the dedicated team of volunteers, on call 24 hours a day and seven days a week responding to a record 855 calls within Chester Borough and Chester Township. There were also an additional 61 mutual aid calls in surrounding towns. CFAS EMTs responded to diverse emergencies, including traumatic injuries, medical emergencies, and fire-related emergencies servicing both patients and emergency fire personnel.
For some emergency calls, CFAS partnered with advanced life support units, as well as AirOne, an Atlantic Health System helicopter, plus NorthSTAR operated by NJ State Police. The helicopters were utilized on four occasions to transport critically injured patients to a trauma or burn center hospital.
In addition to handling emergency calls, CFAS ensured an on-site presence at several local Chester events, such as the 4-H Fair, the Chester Craft Fairs, and various other festivals and sports events held locally. CFAS' North Road facility continued to serve as a Car Seat Station for the NJ Safe Kids/Safe Communities organization. A few members who are certified AHA BLS Instructors have been providing CPR/AED classes to teachers, athletic coaches and members of the public in an effort to help save lives.
In the Fall, CFAS was excited to take delivery of a custom, state-of-the-art ambulance, a 2010 Ford with an E-450 chassis. The ambulance’s custom design was specified by CFAS, based on the squad’s needs and requirements, and provides optimal functionality, ease of use and the latest technology available, including: a multiplex electrical system, known as an “intelligent electrical system”, which controls all electrical features in the ambulance such as suction, lighting and oxygen. The ambulance features a Stryker Power-Pro stretcher, and also has the capability to become a bariatric-capable transport ambulance. The new ambulance replaced an older 1998 rig which was converted to a Support Unit, to be used for firefighter support and rehabilitation, transporting tools and specialty equipment in machinery accidents, search and rescue.
To learn more about the Chester First Aid Squad, inquire about becoming a member, or make a donation, visit the website or call the CFAS Office at: (908) 879-5560. CFAS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.