Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ
Does BVAC charge patients who call for an ambulance?
How can I donate to BVAC?
I called for an ambulance in Bergenfield and received a bill. Why?
How is BVAC funded?
How is BVAC dispatched?
Who runs BVAC?
What is BVAC's territory?
Which hospitals will BVAC take patients to?
I called for an ambulance in Bergenfield but an ambulance from another town responded. Why?
What is the time commitment for members?
Can I join if I'm under 18?
What level of training do BVAC members have?
What is LOSAP?
Q: Does BVAC charge patients who call for an ambulance?
A: No. By definition, a volunteer ambulance corps in the state of New Jersey is a squad that does not bill for services.
Q: How can I donate to BVAC?
A: To help support BVAC, you can mail a tax-deductible check made out to "Bergenfield Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Inc." to: BVAC; PO Box 72; Bergenfield, NJ 07621. You can also click "Donate" on top of this page to donate via Credit Card or PayPal.
Q: I called 911 for an ambulance in Bergenfield and received a bill. Why?
A: The bill you received was from the paramedic unit - not from BVAC. On potentially life-threatening calls, the Bergenfield police will also dispatch an Advanced Life Support (ALS) unit from one of the local hospitals. The ALS units are staffed by paramedics who have advanced EMT training and can administer advanced levels of medical care such as intravenous medication, cardiac monitoring, advanced airway management, etc. The ALS units will bill you for the care they provide, but BVAC does not receive any of that money.
Q: How is BVAC funded?
A: The vast majority of BVAC's annual expenses (ambulances, supplies, building maintenance, uniforms, training, etc.) are funded by donations from the public. BVAC also receives an annual contribution from the Borough of Bergenfield.
Q: How is BVAC dispatched?
A: BVAC is dispatched by the Bergenfield Police Department's 9-1-1 communications office.
Q: Who runs BVAC?
A: The business aspects of BVAC are run by the Executive Board (President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, and Membership Secretary). All operations (ambulance, personnel, equipment, training etc.) are run by the Line Officers (Chief, Deputy Chief, First Lieutenant, and Second Lieutenant). There are also Building Supervisors responsible for the maintenance and use of the BVAC building and grounds. All leadership positions are un-paid.
Q: What is BVAC's territory?
A: BVAC is the legally-designated emergency ambulance squad for the Borough of Bergenfield, New Jersey. BVAC also has mutual-aid agreements with neighboring municipalities and will respond to those towns when they have an emergency and their ambulances are already busy on emergency calls.
Q: Where do BVAC ambulances take patients?
A: BVAC transports patients only to hospital emergency departments. Fortunately, there are three full-service hospitals within 5 miles of Bergenfield: Holy Name Medical Center, Englewood Hospital & Medical Center, and Hackensack University Medical Center (a state-designated Level II trauma center). If a patient asks to be transported to a hospital that is farther away, such as Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood, or New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus, the BVAC crew will try their best to accommodate the request. However, it is occasionally necessary to transport to the closest emergency room. This can happen if: the patient is critical and the ambulance crew determines that it is medically necessary to reach a hospital as quickly as possible, or if the desired hospital is on bypass/divert, or severely inclement weather. It is important to keep in mind that, by federal law, all hospital emergency rooms are required to accept and treat any emergency patient regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay.
Q: I called for an ambulance in Bergenfield but an ambulance from another town responded. Why?
A: Although there is a BVAC crew on duty 24/7/365, BVAC has mutual-aid agreements with neighboring towns to make sure that there is always an ambulance available to respond to calls in Bergenfield if all of BVAC's ambulances are busy on other emergencies. This is the system used nationwide by emergency services to prevent patients from having to wait until one of the local squad's units are available. These agreements allow ambulances from nearby communities to respond when needed.
Q: What is the time commitment for members?
A: The standard full-time commitment is one 12-hour shift per week and a total of 24-hours of weekend time per month. BVAC also allows EMTs with extensive experience to ride on a part-time basis if they are unable to ride full-time. Cadets are only permitted to ride until 10:00 PM.
Q: Can I join if I'm under 18?
A: Yes! BVAC has a cadet program for 16 & 17 year olds. All cadets are required to obtain EMT certification and will be trained by experienced BVAC members.
Q: What level of training do BVAC members have?
A: BVAC members are highly trained to respond to medical emergencies. The minimum level of training for all regular members is certification as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) by either the state of New Jersey, the National Registry of EMT's, or another state whose EMT certification is granted reciprocity by the New Jersey Department of Health. BVAC will help new members enroll in an EMT class.
Q: What is LOSAP?
A: The "Emergency Services Volunteer Length of Service Award Program", or "LOSAP," was created by the New Jersey state legislature in 1998 as "a system ... to provide tax-deferred income benefits to active volunteer members of an emergency service organization." The LOSAP program was started as a way to improve retention of volunteers. For more information, click here.