For decades, the standard in ambulances was the Cadillac adapted by Sayers and Scovill, whose signature product, ironically, was a hearse. These vehicles were utilized by the Fanwood Rescue Squad for three decades. In the early 1970s, the modular, box-type ambulance arrived, affording more room in the back for patients, caregivers and gear. Up until 1977, FRS had just one response vehicle, a standard, 1971 S&S Cadillac ambulance called “Car W”. When a second vehicle arrived, along with the new headquarters building capable of housing two ambulances, squad officials approached Police Chief Anthony Parenti for new identifiers for the vehicles. Chief Parenti decided on Car 78 and 79, numbering the ambulances at the end of the sequence of police vehicles that began at 70. Thus, the Cadillac became 78 and the new Dodge van became 79. Decades later, they became 578 and 579, the numeral 5 identifying Fanwood.
It was also during the 1970’s when tan and brown became the signature color for Fanwood’s ambulances. Members report the lighter color, actually called Casablanca Yellow by GM, was the color of member John Kraus’ Pontiac. Kraus was on the ambulance committee. Other committee members came up with the brown accent color and the rest is history.
1951 Sayers & Scovill Cadillac
1956 Sayers & Scovill Cadillac
1977 Dodge Van
1980 Chevrolet Mini Mod
1990 Chevrolet/K&S Concept
1991 Wheeled Coach
1998 Braun Chief
2001 Road Rescue
2009 Braun, in service as 579
2017 Ford/ Braun Signature Series, in service as 578
1939 LaSalle1939 LaSalle, our first ambulance, bought used from the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad. LaSalle was Cadillac's "budget" brand.
1951 Sayers & Scovill Cadillac1951 Sayers & Scovill Cadillac
1956 Sayers & Scovill Cadillac1956 Sayers & Scovill Cadillac
1961 CadillacSquad founder Bill Mathews, Captain Bill Crosby and President Wilbur Childers inspect the inside of the '61. No standing inside the Caddys!
1966 Cadillac1966 Sayers & Scovill Cadillac
1971 Cadillac1971 Sayers & Scovill Cadillac debuted the trademark tan and brown colors of FRS ambulances. Tan (GM stock color called Casablanca Yellow) was the color of a squad member's Pontiac and the brown accent was suggested by the dealer. The color combination endures to this day.
1977 Dodge Van1977 Dodge Van
1980 Chevrolet Mini Mod1980 Chevrolet Mini Mod
1990 Chevrolet/K&S Concept1990 Chevrolet/K&S Concept
1991 Wheeled CoachThis rig, bought used from the Watchung Rescue Squad, was a temporary second rig until the new 78 arrived. Thus, the squad elected not to spend money to paint it the signature brown and tan of the other rigs.
1998 Braun Chief1998 Braun Chief
2001 Road Rescue2001 Road Rescue
2009 Braun, in service as 5792009 Braun, in service as 579. Following a major mechanical failure in 2020, this ambulance was rehabilitated with a new chassis, converting it from diesel to gas and giving it a new life at a fraction of the cost of a new rig.
2017 Ford/ Braun Signature Series, in service as 578This marked the first time the Borough of Fanwood fully funded an ambulance purchase to the tune of $210,000. Built on a 4WD pickup truck chassis with a smaller patient compartment, the ambulance's rough ride prompted the leadership to spend an additional $5,000 to install Air-Ride suspension.