In researching the History of The Chatham Rescue Squad, we found copies of newspaper articles with conflicting information. According to one article, The Chatham Rescue Squad was formed by members of the Chatham Fire Department in 1927. Another article shows that The Chatham Rescue Squad was formed in 1931 by members of the Chatham Fire Department.
The first ambulance was a 1931 Model A, was donated to the Rescue Squad by Otis Meyers, a local Ford Dealer. Mr. Meyers was serving as Mayor of the Village of Chatham at the time. The Model A was nicknamed “The Little Red Wagon”. According to records found, in 1931 Chatham Rescue Squad responded to 25 ambulance calls.
By 1939, the squad was in need of a new ambulance and Chatham Rescue Squad organized a Fund Drive. Today we continue to hold an Annual Fund Drive to help defray the costs of continuing coverage.
In the 1960’s discussions began on the subject of Incorporating the Rescue Squad and the original books were given to an attorney for him to determine wither or not to incorporate. According to meeting minutes, in 1962 the attorney reported that he could find no reason to incorporate at that time. In June of 1968 the Chatham Rescue Squad did incorporate as a Not-For-Profit organization.
In 1961 the Squad purchased an old Railway Express truck for $50.00. The truck was to be set up and used as a coffee wagon. Meeting minutes reveled that this was used for many years at various functions.
In the January 1969 meeting minutes, we found a note stating, “use of helicopter for ambulance service starting this weekend to see if it is a feasible service”. At the time there was much discussion on how this would work and the pro’s and con’s of the service.
The meeting minutes of January 1975 reveal the first sign of females being voted into membership in Chatham Rescue Squad, Inc.
By 1979, members were discussing the feasibility of moving to separate quarters from the Fire Department. Near the end of 1985, the minutes reveal a motion to purchase the Moore Avenue property. That motion carried and in early 1986 the renovation plans for our current building were under way. Members and volunteers did much of the renovation work on the former 7 bay garage building under the direction of Mr. Gil Lewis. Mr. Lewis was named coordinator for the renovation project. Chatham Rescue Squad, Inc. officially moved to the Moore Avenue location and celebrated with an Open House in October of 1986.
Today Chatham Rescue Squad, Inc. is still located in that same building on Moore Avenue and also has a location on Route 295 in Canaan. Our service now includes on-staff Paramedics and EMT’s, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The combination of staff and volunteers assure prompt quality care to all the people in our ambulance district.