The Pearl River Alumni Ambulance Corporation was established in 1936 by A group of Pearl River High School Alumni, after several alumni had witnessed a terrible train car accident that occurred at the railroad crossing at Washington Avenue. The automobile occupants consisting of four mothers returning home from St Margaret’s Church were severely injured.
The alumni formed a committee to raise the funds necessary to purchase Pearl River’s first ambulance a 1937 Cadillac LaSalle and become a State Chartered Ambulance service. The corps used a garage behind Dexter Folder and local merchants, workers and residents volunteered their time and would drive the ambulance and respond to calls in the community. The volunteers received their initial training from ambulances that were used in the Jersey City Hospitals.
During and after World War II many of the returning veterans with valuable First Aid experience joined the corps and bolstered its ranks. The Alumni conducted annual fund drives to purchase property and in the early 1950s constructed a new ambulance building on North Pearl Street. All of the members became certified and trained in American Red Cross first Aid. The volunteers would respond to local emergencies and transport patients to local hospitals. The members also helped train members other towns in Rockland County start ambulance services in their communities. In the late 1960s the corps built an addition to the building to house a second or standby ambulance for ever increasing emergency calls.
In the early 1970s as the county became more populated and technology advanced the Pearl River volunteers in conjunction with local physicians and Nyack Hospital were trained in advanced life support procedures and many members were certified as coronary care technicians. Two state of the art ambulances in Pearl River could send cardiograms via radio directly to the Nyack Hospital Emergency Room. The volunteers took additional training provided by Nyack Hospital and became Paramedics in the early 1980s. The corps provided volunteer Paramedic services and transportation until 1991 when the Town of Orangetown contracted Rockland Paramedic Services to provide paramedic service to the entire town.
In 1990s Pearl River Ambulance continued to upgrade equipment and vehicles, and work hand in hand with Rockland Paramedic Services to maintain and improve the ambulance service to the residents of Pearl River. September 1999 rolled in with hurricane Floyd and the ambulance building was inundated with 4 feet of flood waters. Except for the two ambulances most of the supplies and equipment was damaged or destroyed. A second floor was added to the ambulance building in 2000 to prevent future damage to supplies, and expand operations and training.
September 11, 2001 changed our nation forever. The Pearl River Ambulance was activated shortly thereafter to send one staffed ambulance (along with other ambulances from Rockland County) to New York City for short periods of time to maintain the cities ambulance coverage. During the next year The Pearl River Ambulance building was used as a staging area for replacement ambulances prior to delivery to FDNY. The Pearl River Alumni Ambulance Corp. received a Service Commendation from the New York City Fire Department and the People of the City on New York.
The Corps continued expanding its facilities, replacing and upgrading equipment and purchasing state of the art ambulances. In 2003 the corps added two electric vehicles to its fleet to provide rapid response for large events held in Pearl River. All Pearl River Ambulances purchased during the past 15 years have a common design feature which facilitates equipment positioning. This simple feature allows our member to quickly locate medical equipment and supplies on any ambulance.
Today the Pearl River Ambulance continues to maintain and improve its service to the community. New Uniforms, new radio equipment, automatic defibrillators on all vehicles, all of our members & E.M.T.s are trained to defibrillate. We are a New York State Certified Ambulance Service and have been since 1978. In May 2011 we were awarded the Rockland County EMS Agency of The Year Award. The Pearl River Alumni Ambulance Corp. has provided Tax Free ambulance service to the residents of our community for since inception in 1936. We receive no monies from local, state, or federal agencies. We are not on any tax rolls. We are and continue to be New York’s First Chartered Volunteer Ambulance Corp.