Virginia Beach, Va. – Each May, National EMS Week recognizes the work of emergency medical personnel throughout the country. In Virginia Beach, it is an opportunity to honor the dedication of the 1,000+ volunteers that make up the largest volunteer-based EMS system in the country.
For the first time, four Virginia Beach squads will be partnering on a fundraising effort during EMS Week, which takes place May 19 – 25. The four squads include Chesapeake Beach, Kempsville, Princess Anne Courthouse and Virginia Beach.
Each of the ten squads operates as its own 501(c)(3) and is responsible for funding station operations as well as purchasing equipment, uniforms and vehicles. They answer a combined 40,000 9-1-1 calls per year and save the city an estimated $22 million annually. Because of their efforts, pre-hospital emergency medical care is free to all Virginia Beach residents and visitors.
The Virginia Beach Rescue Squad Foundation is running a marketing campaign in support of the squads’ fundraising efforts, encouraging the community to support the local rescue squads by making a donation at www.LivesNeedSaving.org.
“We are extremely proud that so many of our citizens give their time to save the lives of their neighbors on a moment’s notice and with such a high level of personal dedication,” says Kitty Schaum, executive director of the Virginia Beach Rescue Squad Foundation, which supports the recruitment and retention efforts of all squads. “This year’s campaign gives residents a chance to give something back and say thank you.”
Virginia Beach EMS volunteers go through months of training before being released as EMTs, and once they join a squad, they commit to working at least four 12-shifts per month.
“These are extremely qualified, well-trained professionals, many of whom volunteer and work full-time jobs that are completely different from what they’re trained to do with the rescue squads,” adds Schaum.
Not all volunteer positions require EMS training, however. Each squad depends on administrative volunteers to assist with scheduling and fundraising, among other needs, and some of the special operations teams, like the Marine Rescue/Dive Team, do not require EMT certification.
To support your local volunteer rescue squad, visit www.LivesNeedSaving.org and click the “Donate” button.
The Virginia Beach Rescue Squad Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to supporting the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad, Inc., as well as the entire volunteer emergency medical system in Virginia’s largest city. It is our vision to advocate for an independent and vital volunteer Virginia Beach rescue system, which provides free pre-hospital emergency care to the citizens and visitors of Virginia Beach. Foundation initiatives include recruitment, retention, advocacy and education efforts, among others. For more information, visit www.vbrescuefoundation.org.