Rescue squad needs volunteers

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – EMS workers are experiencing an emergency of their own.  Manchester Volunteer Rescue Squad's call volume is going up, but its number of volunteers is going down!

Most people call these EMS volunteers heroes. They spend their free time outside of full-time jobs saving lives. Now, they're the ones in need of assistance. And this time, you can help save them.

These volunteers need to be flexible. A night can change in an instant. The night NBC12 rode with the Manchester Volunteer Rescue Squad, an elderly woman's life hung in the balance.

Their patient was diabetic and her sugar levels dropped dramatically. Along with a Chesterfield Fire medic, volunteers David Bulman and Bryan Hall were able to bring up her levels on the way to VCU Medical Center.

When the crew got to the hospital, it doesn't matter if they are career medics or volunteers, they needed the same medical knowledge in order to brief the doctors.

Bulman briefed us on the way back to the station.

"Without us she wouldn't have had the medication she needed," he explained. "Her blood sugar could have continued to drop, which could have been deadly for her."

Lately the crew, which covers a large area in the Hull Street corridor, has gotten busier. Fewer volunteers are doing more. In 2010, 58 members pulled 30,650 hours on the ambulance. This past year that number rose to 31,000 with the volunteers dropping to just 53.

Now they need you to join them.

"We offer them a chance to where they could still have a paid job," Bulman said. "They go to work. They work their regular hours but at night they can come in and they can have this experience."

Chesterfield Fire and EMS take the daytime calls. The rescue squad is on the job from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. during the week and 24/7 on the weekends. There's no paycheck involved. This position comes with a different kind of reward.

"You have a patient in your hands," Bulman told us. "You have somebody's life in your hands and you're able to help them."

No prior EMS certification is necessary. The squads will provide training. They'll also work to coordinate schedules for whatever amount of time you're able to volunteer.

For more information on how you can join them, call 276-4344 or visit www.mvrs.org.

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