What We Do
Since our founding in 1938, Second Alarmer’s Association and Rescue Squad of Montgomery County (SARS) has grown to become one of the largest not-for-profit 911 Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers in the region, responding to over 12,000 emergency incidents each year.
SARS is a combination department composed of both volunteer and career members, delivering service from five stations with 20 vehicles, including eleven Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances.
SARS provides crucial lifesaving Emergency Medical Services to over 125,000 residents in 49,000 households in a 56 square mile area that encompasses Abington, Upper Dublin, Upper Moreland and Whitpain Townships, as well as the Boroughs of Hatboro, Jenkintown and Rockledge. SARS is also the primary contracted EMS agency for 15 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike from the Willow Grove Interchange to Philadelphia. SARS participates in County/State/Federal wide mutual aid agreements to respond wherever dispatched by 911. Each year SARS provides EMS standby support to dozens of community events.
SARS has developed one of the leading training centers in the 5-county area, offering community first-aid and CPR classes as well as providing numerous courses for first responders, such as Healthcare Provider CPR, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support and Pre-hospital Trauma Life Support. We were one of the first departments in the region to have instructors certified to teach Tactical Combat Casualty Care, a course designed for the military, however, easily adapted to the civilian arena, especially for active threat response.
Unlike local fire and police departments, many municipalities do not provide Second Alarmer’s with recurring tax funding; our survival is dependent upon reimbursement for services provided, grants and generous donations. Over the past several years, SARS has been reinvigorated by new leadership which has focused on creating long-term structure, including the adoption of a strategic plan, to make the organization a premier business operation. We have ensured that policies and procedures are established with the strict oversight of the Board of Directors, Command Staff, Operational Officers, Internal Audit Teams and by the independent financial audits of Maillie Certified Public Accountants of Philadelphia. Financial audits are prepared annually and voluntarily given to all municipalities served. SARS also voluntarily initiates Compliance Billing Audits by the law firm of Page, Wolfberg and Wirth and is member of the Pennsylvania Association of Non-Profit Organizations.
Originally chartered in the state of Pennsylvania in 1938 with the purpose of forming “an association to serve coffee, lime water, seltzer, etc. to foremen and police and rescue workers,” with a single truck converted as a canteen unit that could go anywhere requested; in years to come, it would travel to states as far away as Mississippi. Within less than a decade, SARS placed its first ambulance in service as back-up to the local hospital and police departments who provided the primary service.
Those who know of Second Alarmer’s, may remember our bus fleet, which were known as Disaster Units. The first was put into service in June of 1950 and continued providing services through 1968. This bus-like vehicle came completely equipped with every possible type of medical equipment needed, including blood plasma, oxygen, asbestos suits, rescue blankets, hand tools, inhalators, and resuscitators and acetylene-cutting equipment. It accommodated six stretcher patients and four ambulatory patients, was
completely heated and air conditioned, provided running hot and cold water, contained a public address system and five radio frequencies, as well as a 100-volt automatic generator. The Disaster Unit was so modern, unusual and well-equipped that it was considered to be 10 years ahead of other rescue squad services. It was also considered by fire, police and Civil Defense officials of the time to be one of the finest pieces of equipment in the United States.
In 1975, after many years’ worth of building a reputation for being on the cutting edge of providing rescue and patient care service, Second Alarmer’s was one of the first companies in the country to place the “Jaws of Life” into operation. Designed by the Hurst Corporation of Warminster, it was the newest tool in our toolbox to help save lives.
Between 1979 and 1981, SARS grew from providing primary ambulance service for Upper Moreland Township and parts of Upper Dublin Township, to also providing services for Abington Township and the Boroughs of Rockledge and Jenkintown as their respective police departments ended their emergency medical services.
Over the past four decades, SARS has continued to lead the way in our industry, receiving multiple local, state, and national awards and commendations.
While our skill sets and delivery methods have evolved over time, our number one goal remains the same, and that is to provide the best possible care to those we serve in their time of need.
We sincerely hope you are never in need of our services, but if that time ever arrives, rest assured, you are in good hands.