History

The history of Lafayette Ambulance begins with its conception in October 1960 when a combined meeting between the Joint Service Club Committee and the Hospital Study Committee recommended an ambulance organization for Upper Merion rather than another hospital.

Sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Valley Forge, a meeting was held on September 28, 1961 for the purpose of organizing the proposed new emergency ambulance and rescue squad. Theodore Kunda Sr. was the organizing chairman, Leo Boyle was appointed Organizer for Personnel and Margaret Krauss was asked to conduct first aid courses to have members fully trained. The original intent was to form an ambulance service capable of performing a full range of rescue services. After the start-up costs were estimated for rescue equipment, it was decided to begin with only ambulance service.

The Articles of Incorporation of Lafayette Ambulance & Rescue Squad, Inc. (a non-profit organization) was signed by Judge Robert Honeyman in January, 1962. Signers of the Articles were: A.W. Martin, Theodore E.C. Kunda Sr., Wilfred K. Horrocks, Betsy Myers, C. Robert Enoch, Harold Robinson, Jean Schultz, and Dr. Watson Gutkowski. Shortly thereafter Judge Honeyman signed an application for a Charter and the Articles of Incorporation under the “non-profit corporation law”.
The first ambulance, an “International”, was housed in June 1962 at the Kunda Sign Company

For many years prior to the formation of Lafayette Ambulance, the Goodwill Fire Company .Ambulance, based in Bridgeport, served Upper Merion Township and provided mutual aid to our units until their closure in 1999.

On October 23, 1969 Lafayette Ambulance dedicated our new headquarters located on North Henderson Road, where we are now. The new building had a two-car garage and the decision to purchase a second ambulance was made due to the growth of Upper Merion Township. Responding from home, some volunteers waived handkerchiefs from their cars to alert other drivers.

In 1972, a second floor was added to our building and we bought our first radio. Until this time, squad members communicated only via telephone. Dispatch was later done by the Upper Merion Police Department through the direct line “Red Phone” and police radio.

Through the years, especially the beginning, many volunteers and their families donated supplies and made various furniture that are still in use today. The Junior Member Program started in April 1974.

Paramedic training began in 1978, bringing with it the need for UHF radio frequencies for medics to communicate with the hospitals (MED channels). Motorola APCOR radios were purchased for this use.

In 1987, squad pagers were purchased to enable members to respond to an emergency call if available and in the vicinity. The Operations Manual was developed, with then Chief Karl Hermann being instrumental in its development.

Our office was given a home in the Squad building on Henderson Road to centralize billing, member files, and all squad related business in 1991.

Our first medic responder unit, a Suburban, was purchased in 1992 and used to transport paramedics to and from scenes. The Suburban was replaced in 1994 with a Chevrolet Caprice, which was later retired and replaced with a Ford Crown Victoria. A used police car was purchased in 1994 for the chief to use while on duty. That vehicle was retired in 1998.

The year 1995 saw Lafayette Ambulance’s growth expanding to add a third ambulance.

During 1997, the building was expanded on the first floor to add two bays, storage, and an administrative office.

There were approximately forty volunteers, and employees became commonplace on the crews. The position of Executive Manager was created to oversee the growing and complex ambulance management and reimbursement issues.

The original building was refurbished in 1999 by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The original bays, bathrooms, meeting room, and office were all significantly improved.

The year 2001 saw the replacement of two ambulances with two smaller Horton Ambulances. A new color scheme and design were adopted, retiring the famous orange-striped version. In 2002, a new Chevrolet Tahoe paramedic responder was placed in service.  In 2006, yet another more modern color scheme was adopted for the fleet.

In 2007, Lafayette Ambulance became the EMS provider for the Borough of Bridgeport and expanded our services to include firefighter rehabilitation with the addition of a specialized service Incident Rehab Unit to the fleet.

A volunteer Board of Directors governs Lafayette Ambulance. Community leaders, business leaders, squad members, and the Upper Merion Township Police Department all sit on the Board.