Springfield Ambulance Corps came into being due to an accident on Baltimore Pike. Don Eastman, owner of the Springfield Beverage Distributing Co., rendered aid to the seriously injured person, covering him with newspapers and blankets to keep him warm. Don tried desperately for two hours to get an ambulance for the injured man. No surrounding towns had an ambulance at that time. Finally, an ambulance from Philadelphia was obtained and it took the injured pedestrian (who died enroute) to a Philadelphia hospital. It was at this time that Don decided that Springfield needed its own ambulance. Through the Springfield Betterment Association at Eastman’s behest, a door-to-door fund drive was started to purchase an ambulance. After four months, $13,000 had been collected in the drive. They then purchased a brand new fully equipped Cadillac ambulance for $8,700. The balance of the collected funds was put into the organization which they founded, and was to be known as “The Springfield Fire Company Ambulance Corps”, a committee of the fire company.
In 1949, a one-floor addition was made to the existing two-story stone firehouse, to house the new ambulance and additional fire apparatus. The 1940’s also saw the beginning of the Springfield Library, which first occupied space on a mezzanine level of the old stone firehouse. The library grew in size, including the familiar “Book Mobile” that circulated throughout the township. The library eventually took over the entire second floor of the firehouse, after the municipal offices moved to their present 50 Powell Road location in 1954.
With the help of many organizations and local businesses, as well as concerned citizens, the Springfield Ambulance Corps was started. In 1962, the Ambulance Corps split off from the Fire Company and formed its own corporation. At that same time, women were accepted for membership. In 1963, the original building housing the Ambulance Corps was completed on the vacant lot next to the Fire House. It was built with funds from the Corps, and turned over to Springfield Township to be maintained as a township building. In 1978, the Corps was approached by the Fire Company, who needed a new building, to work with them on plans for a new facility to house both organizations. That building was completed in 1981.
There have been many changes and improvements to the Corps since its inception. In 1948, air-raid sirens were used to alert crews. Presently, we are dispatched by the county fireboard as part of the enhanced 911 system. Members are alerted with individual pagers and radios.
Since the mid 1970’s, members have been trained as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s). In 1983, advanced life support units and paramedics were introduced to the township. Now, working mainly with the paramedics from Crozer Chester Medical Center-Springfield Division, the Corps provides emergency care to our community as well as assisting surrounding towns when needed. The Corps members constantly keep their skills updated, and our two Horton ambulances have the most up-to-date equipment to provide that care.
Currently, the Ambulance Corps has over 70 active members who volunteer their time and energy to perform a humanitarian, civic duty for their community without compensation. Our members have diverse backgrounds which include teachers, secretaries, lawyers, and retirees, to name a few.
The Corps continues to be community supported through our annual membership solicitation drive. The Corps receives no tax dollars from the Township.
We are able to maintain the Ambulance Corps as an all-volunteer organization with the help of our members and their families and friends who support them.
Contributed by Pat Owens and the Springfield Fire Department