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Verona’s First Responders Meet Sharply Rising Need; Cedar Grove Rescue Squad Shuts Down


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Verona’s first responders sent out a joint letter this afternoon thanking the community for its support in the face of what it called a “challenging time for our emergency services” as Cedar Grove announced that its volunteer EMS squad will no longer respond to emergencies.

Cedar Grove Ambulance Chief of Police Joseph Cirasa announced on Facebook earlier todaythat the Cedar Grove Rescue Squad will be “standing down”, effective immediately. Cedar Grove will be switching to private emergency service and not drawing on other neighboring squads, including the Verona Rescue Squad. As of Monday night, March 30, there were 26 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in Cedar Grove.

Verona’s letter made it clear that the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is causing challenges for our Police Department, Fire Department and Rescue Squad. “The nearly 100% increase over the weekend is a significant concern, read the letter, which is signed by Township Manager Matthew Cavallo Chief of Police Christopher Kiernan and Chief of Verona Rescue Squad Frederick Tempesta. They noted that, because of testing delays, the actual numbers of how many are affected by the virus in town are much higher than the positive test result numbers.

The letter noted that, n the past 24 hours, the Verona Rescue Squad has transported four patients who exhibited COVID-19 symptoms to local emergency room. “This has included individuals who are awaiting the return of test results, but whose symptoms worsened,” they said.

“Our observations of local emergency departments and intelligence from emergency management demonstrate that these facilities for both emergency and inpatient critical care are either at, near, or over capacity. It is clear that we are entering the predicted surge of the virus.”

The chiefs said that their units have handled every call for service since the beginning of the pandemic without the need for assistance from other towns. “Our volunteer emergency medical service continues to provide 24-hour coverage,” they said, “and when needed, has assembled crews to handle up to three simultaneous emergencies.”

Verona’s first responders now have an urgent request for the community: Do not call for an ambulance if it is not an emergency. Instead, they are asking you to call your primary care physician and use online or in-person urgent care. If you have to go to a medical facility, ask your family members to transport you. “An ambulance ride does not guarantee quicker service at the hospital,” the letter said. “Our EMS crews have been directed by hospitals to drop off non-emergent patients in waiting rooms.”

“Our township and emergency services are always here to provide for our community. In order to do so, me must not only provide you the most accurate information, but continue to request your assistance.”

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


  1. We are extremely fortunate to have our own Rescue Squad here in Verona. They are comprised of our friends and neighbors that selflessly offer their services at very little cost to residents as compared to costly professional rescue services. Our Rescue Squad are all volunteers that answer calls during these scary times and are truly Verona’s Heroes. We can’t thank them enough.

  2. Our family sincerely thanks you and are lifting you all up in daily prayer for continual protection and courage and we thank Christ for you with grateful hearts for your selfless service, compassoon, perseverence and courage.

    God bless you,
    The Butlers


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