VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad was awarded the 2018 Volunteer EMS Service of the Year award at the EMS World Expo in Nashville, Tennessee.
VBVRS Chief Travis Smith received the award on behalf of the squad.
“While in Nashville, we were surprised at the number of people – providers, agencies, medical professionals and community members – who approached us, fascinated by how our system works,” he said. “We were able to explain how we are one of 10 volunteer rescue squads that provide free emergency medical services to all of Virginia Beach, and operate entirely on community donations and grants.
“We found that the Volunteer Rescue Squads of Virginia Beach are definitely unique in the level and extent of service provided as a volunteer organization.”
The 10 squads that comprise the Volunteer Rescue Squads of Virginia Beach answer over 46,000 calls annually, and together have a volunteer staff of nearly 1,000.
Smith’s award-winning squad, the largest in the city, has 175 members who donate over 45,000 hours of volunteer support annually.
On a day-to-day basis, VBVRS run out of two stations, 8 and 14, providing three ambulances per 12-hour shift. During peak hours, known as “power shifts,” the volunteers staff six to seven ambulances. No patients are billed for these services.
Along with their sister squads, VBVRS saves Virginia Beach taxpayers over $24 million annually.
Nominees for the Service of the Year Awards were scored on the following criteria: advances in EMS education and training; innovations in pre-hospital care; medical community involvement; EMS system/program upgrades; worker safety and well-being programs; injury- and illness-prevention projects; and public-education projects.