We have been providing volunteer emergency care to the citizens and visitors to LaVale, Maryland, and the surrounding communities of Allegany County since 1969. Our equipment includes two Advanced Life Support (ALS) certified ambulances and one Basic Life Support (BLS) certified chase car. As of September 2017 our membership included 22 EMTs and 5 Paramedics (including one Flight Paramedic from MSP's Aviation Division Trooper 5). We provide emergency medical services to the community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. In addition to our volunteers, we are staffed around the clock with one BLS crew from the Allegany County Division of EMS.
In 2016, we received 914 calls for service. This is an increase of nearly 45 percent from 2013 when we received 636 calls for service. 2013 was our lowest year since 1981. In 2009 we reached our highest call numbers ever -- over 1,100. However, many of the calls from that year and earlier were fire standby related. Due to changes in response policies in the county, we generally do not respond on initial alarms for fire calls unless there is a life safety issue. This means that more of our calls are genuine calls which involve patient contact of some kind. Over the years we have seen our membership numbers rise and fall. At one time we had more than 150 active members, whereas now we average less than 30. We are constantly searching for new members to help us fulfill our mission to provide service to the community.
In addition to just responding to calls, members spend time at the station on standby and performing many other collateral tasks. In 2016, the total hours given by our membership was over 17,500! That is approximately 2 years.
Our rescue squad is authorized to operate and our providers are certified by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS). The training of our EMTs is conducted by the Univeristy of Maryland - Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI).
If you are interested in learning more about the history of the rescue squad, we invite you to stop by our station to view our archives of photographs, newspaper articles, and a variety of other historical information.
In the late 1960s, it was realized that there was a desperate need for a rescue squad to provide emergency services beyond what was already being provided by the LaVale Volunteer Fire Dept. The 1960s was really the beginning of what we know as modern EMS across the US, with the first rescue squad arising in Roanoke, Virginia. By 1969, community members had come together in LaVale to form the LaVale Volunteer Rescue Squad. By the end of the year, the rescue squad would answer 61 calls for service.
While we only provide EMS services today, our name, LaVale Volunteer Rescue Squad, harks back to the days where we provided rescue services in addition to ambulance services. Today, our sister agency, LaVale Volunteer Fire Department, provides rescue services to our area.
While location and size has changed over the years, our beginnings were on LaVale Avenue off Campground Road.
In the 1970s, the rescue squad raised funds to purchase a Texaco Gas Station located at 977 National Hwy.
Shortly after acquisition of the Texaco Station, the building was expanded and a second floor was added. This added living quarters for the live-in program, a kitchen, meeting/training area, office space, and a living room.
In the 1990s, additional structure was added above the original Texaco Station to add additional training, office, and storage spaces.
After years of fundraising and hard work on the part of our volunteers, in 2013 we began a large renovation and expansion of the station to what you see today. We are incredibly proud that we paid for 100% of this renovation and expansion without having to borrow any money.
LaVale Volunteer Rescue Squad has three vehicles which comprise our apparatus fleet that provides emergency medical services to the community. All three units have been certified as Advanced Life Support ready and are inspected annually by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS). Each unit carries top of the line technology and equipment to help us provide the best emergency care possible to the community including: LifePack 15 Cardiac Monitors, ToughBook integrated FieldBridge laptops, videolaryngoscopes, power-lift cots and much more.
Our units include:
Ambulance 371 is a Lifeline Ambulance on a 2009 Ford E-450 chassis. It is certified as an Advanced Life Support Ambulance.
Rescue 373 is a 2008 Chevrolet Trailblazer upfitted for use as a chase vehicle. Rescue 373 is often used to provide additional personnel to scenes. It is certified as a Basic Life Support Chase Unit.
Ambulance 374 is a Lifeline Ambulance on a 2005 Ford E-450 chassis. It is certified as an Advanced Life Support Ambulance.