All-Volunteer Harrisonburg Rescue Squad has Another Record-Breaking Year as Call Volume and Membership Increase

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HRS receives over 8,600 calls for service in 2015 and grows membership

The dedicated and growing HRS membership is honored to continue a 67 year tradition of serving the community’s 911 ambulance needs.

The Harrisonburg Rescue Squad (HRS), an all-volunteer agency that responds to 911 calls in Harrisonburg and parts of Rockingham County, has had another record-breaking year. In 2015, HRS received over 8,600 calls for service - nearly 500 more calls than its previous record-breaking year in 2014. September of 2015 was HRS’s busiest month ever, with 806 calls for service - the first time HRS has ever received 800 calls in a month. As HRS’s call volume increases, so does its membership. The dedicated and growing HRS membership is honored to continue a 67 year tradition of serving the community’s 911 ambulance needs.

Among the most common call types that HRS responded to were (1) traumatic injury, (2) chest pain, (3) respiratory problem, and (4) altered mental status. These include emergencies such as traffic crashes, industrial accidents, sports accidents, substance abuse, assaults, breathing problems, heart problems, and strokes. HRS responds to these calls no matter where a person is located, including at home, athletic facilities, industrial complexes, outdoors, roads, and any other location.

HRS’s headquarters is located at 1700 Reservoir Street and is staffed entirely by volunteers. To accommodate Harrisonburg-Rockingham’s growing population and the subsequent increase in call volume, HRS’s Membership Committee, headed by Hilary Jacobson, works hard to recruit new members.“We always welcome dedicated people, whether they have experience or not, to become part of our growing agency. We are fortunate that our membership roles continue to increase, and we receive more applications for membership each year,” Jacobson said. “HRS’s new members all participate in our structured, time-tested, and largely self-scheduled new member training process.”

In addition to growing the membership, HRS must ensure that all members are being trained so that the increase in calls can be answered with the appropriate crews (at least a driver and attendant-in-charge, or “AIC”). “Even if a member joins with no emergency driving or medical experience, we set them up for success from day one,” said Michael Roper, HRS’s Training Officer. “Our strong emphasis on training by both new and old members facilitates an environment of constant growth and learning, so goals are always attainable.” HRS provides much of its training for free, and for training that is associated with a cost, reimbursement is offered by the agency. Last year, 35 drivers, 23 AICs, and 8 Advanced Life Support (ALS) providers completed their training and were “released” to perform their duties independently at HRS.

HRS also has volunteer administrative members who assist with the many administrative functions required to run a busy station. Administrative members assist with stocking supplies, writing thank you letters, grounds-keeping, and other important tasks. Some administrative members have specialized skills while others offer general support. Any individual who would like to contribute to HRS’s administrative functions is encouraged to contact the station during business hours to learn more.

With an emergency call volume that is increasing each year, HRS relies entirely on the continued dedication and commitment of its volunteers who consist of retired community members, teachers, students, law enforcement officers, career fire/EMS personnel, skilled craftsmen, business people, and more. HRS is honored to serve the Harrisonburg-Rockingham community and emphasizes that all community members are welcome to sign up for an observer shift to see what it means to be part of HRS. Sign up at rescue40.org/observer-shift.

About the Harrisonburg Rescue Squad:

Harrisonburg Rescue Squad (HRS, also known as Rescue 40) is an all-volunteer EMS agency that provides service to Harrisonburg, VA, as well as parts of neighboring Rockingham County. HRS owns and maintains a full fleet of ambulances, response vehicles, a Heavy Rescue Vehicle, and a Mass Casualty Incident Response Unit. HRS has over 160 active volunteer members and each one is vital in responding to approximately 8,600 calls-for-service per year.

HRS offers new member training, emergency driving certification, and many other EMS courses. The volunteers take pride in the ability to provide extensive life-saving services to the local community. For more information, to donate, to observe, or to volunteer with the Harrisonburg Rescue Squad, please visit http://www.rescue40.org.

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Chris White
@HRSRescue40
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