Volunteer rescue squads from Fanwood and four other nearby communities have successfully launched a training cooperative that provides required elective courses to volunteer EMTs who might otherwise have to pay for them out of their own pockets because of budget cuts in Trenton.
The cooperative, named the Scotchwood Training Alliance, is made up of the Fanwood, Scotch Plains, Westfield, Summit and Springfield rescue squads. The name is derived from the two founding squads, Scotch Plains and Fanwood.
Under the agreement signed by all the squads, every month a different squad hosts a course, which is open to volunteers from all five squads. The host squad pays the cost of the course regardless of how many people attend.
In 2009, the Corzine administration eliminated the source of funding for volunteer EMT training due to budget restructuring. In early 2010, the Christie administration restored funding for initial EMT courses and half of the continuing education courses EMTs are required to take over the 3-5 years of their certification. In 2012, only funding for initial EMT courses was spared. Later, EMT refresher courses were again funded by the state but elective courses for volunteers were paid for by individuals or squads or, in many cases, were offered for free by various agencies.