In 1814, the members of the village’s ladder and bucket brigade along with the leadership of the Upper Evesham Meeting House met to formalize the organization of the fire responders in the village into the Union Fire Company. Formal rules were introduced on the storage of leather buckets, the hanging of ladders, and how the members of the company were obliged to respond and support the company – with failure to comply resulting in fines to the member. Within a few years, the first firehouse was required to house our first apparatus piece, a hand-operated pump that still sits to this day as part of the historical apparatus collection maintained by the fire companies within the Department.
In 1821, the first firehouse was built in the side lot of the meeting house at a cost of $26.61. Today, this building still stands preserved next to the intersection of Union and Cherry Streets in the historic village.
Years passed, and gradually the fire company begun to outgrow the small firehouse on Union Street. In 1872, a second firehouse was built on Bank Street and then enlarged and rebuilt forty one years later in 1913
As Medford Township continued to grow, within ten years a larger firehouse was required and in 1923, the Main Street firehouse was completed and still stands today as retail stores within the village shopping district near Friends Ave.
After World War II, the population of our township again grew rapidly with new families settling into homes built along the edge of the pinelands and pine barrens south of the village area. In 1946, a group of residents south of Tuckerton Road organized as the Lakes Volunteer Fire Company (now Taunton Fire Company) to support and respond alongside Union Fire Company in the areas south and distant from the historic area in the center of town. A war surplus Jeep provided the first protection for the company, and the organization’s charter was formalized in 1949.
Throughout the sixties and seventies, both companies continued to grow and support the mission of protecting their neighbors through volunteering to provide firefighting and emergency medical services. In 1975, Union Fire Company moved from the firehouse on Main Street into their current home located on Firehouse Lane within the Village. In 2010/2011 the firehouse was remodeled to meet todays demands in the fire service.
Taunton Fire Company has continued to grow and relocated from the Fairview Road station to a building on Gravelly Hollow Road to provide room for their expanding membership, overnight duty crew area, lockers for personal belongings and a training room.
Lakes Emergency Squad was established in January of 1978. They provided emergency medical services in conjunction with former Medford Emergency Squad. They were housed next to the Taunton Fire Company on Fairview Road.
During 1990, Lakes Emergency Squad assumed responsibility for all EMS calls within Medford Township due to the dissolution of the Medford Emergency Squad. In 1996, part time paid Emergency Medical Technicians were hired to cover the day time hours (M-F/6a-6p) due to the large call volume that this township experiences. With the large call volume and increase in expenses, the township started billing for emergency medical services in 1998. In conjunction with that, they changed the name to Medford Emergency Medical Services.
With the call volume and the need for overnight duty crews, The members and the Township planed a new EMS building at 20 Jackson Road. This building would allow for a training room, bunk rooms for over night duty crews, kitchen, medical supply storage areas and an oxygen cascade to fill bottles. This building was dedicated in December 2002