Metro Richmond Flying Squad provides relief to first responders

Published: Dec. 26, 2022 at 6:51 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - If you’ve ever seen the fire department out in your community, chances are you’ve also seen the Metro Richmond Flying Squad.

While they’re not as well known, they play a huge role by providing aid to firefighters while they’re responding to a call.

When first responders rush out the door to respond to a call, most of the time the Metro Richmond Flying squad will be quick to follow.

“So when they get to what is called a working fire is declared or an upgrade structure fire, meaning that the fire is a little bit abnormal little bit bigger than regular and that the crews are going to be there for a long amount of time they will dispatch us,” said Max Frayser, the Metro Richmond Flying Squad captain.

Their motto is everyone goes home, and that’s what the squad’s 30 to 40 volunteers make sure of every time they’re put into service. Many of the men and women serving on the Metro Richmond Flying Squad are retired firefighters, so they know what it takes to keep crews energized on the job.

“They get up at 2 in the morning in 19-degree weather or they get up at 2 in the morning when it’s 88 degrees outside and we respond to these calls,” Frayser explained.

They operate three rehab units serving Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, and Richmond. Each of the rehab units is filled with food, medicine, and supplies to help provide first responders with the strength they need at a scene of a fire.

“The big thing is that might be their first fire of the day or it might be their fifth because they’re still on a 24-hour shift so we’re replacing the fluids and nutrition that they’re using,” stated Frayser.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, being a firefighter increases the chances of dying from stress and overexertion. In 2020 alone, more than 20 on-duty firefighters across the country died from heart attacks.

“A lot of times we can possibly prevent someone from going to the hospital by just giving them the right treatment on the scene,” Frayser said.

Established in May 2017, the Metro Richmond Flying Squad has only been in operation for a few years, but its growing quickly.

“The first year, I think we ran 20 calls ... this year so far we’re at 306 calls for service, which is the highest we’ve ever had in the history of the organization,” he said.

The squad is run solely on volunteers and donations, to volunteer or make a donation click here.