"We Volunteer Because We Care" is not a catchy slogan -- it is the creed of the members of LaVale Volunteer Rescue Squad (LVRS). Ask any member why they volunteer, and they will be more than happy to tell you the story of their life-changing event.
What does it mean to be a volunteer in Emergency Medical Services (EMS)?
It means choosing to put someone else first. It means getting out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to help a stranger or maybe leaving the dinner table because of an accident. To each volunteer, it means something different.
Is every call one where we save a life?
No. It's not about being a life-saving hero every time the sirens wail and the lights flash. But, for every person we help, we do make a difference in their life.
Can a volunteer really save lives?
Yes. We go through the same Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Life Support (ALS) training that the paid Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Paramedics attend. In fact, many paid EMS providers start out as volunteers, with many continuing to do volunteer work.
What can I do when I become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)?
You will be trained on numerous skills. These range from bandaging, splinting, and obtaining blood pressures to performing CPR, administering certain medications, and using various equipment. All of the skills are taught in your EMT class as specified by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS).
What do I get for becoming a volunteer?
First, free training to become an EMT. After you become an EMT, we also provide free training to maintain your certification, called Continuing Education. When you have successfully completed three years of service, you will be eligible (by meeting certain requirements) for a Maryland Income Tax credit. While the tax credit started at $3,500, it is increasing annually until it reaches $8,000. We also participate with Allegany County's Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP), which after meeting all the requirements, can provide a small retirement benefit fo your years of service. Foremost, you get to help others in their time of need and make a difference in their lives.
In order to join us you must:
After you become a member, we have the following requirements to maintain your membership:
Ask yourself these four questions.
If you answered yes, then we need YOU! Volunteering provides lifetime rewards and makes you an Every Day Hero!
Would you like more information? Feel free to contact us. You can call, stop by, email, or message us on Facebook.
Many people wonder what it's like to join our rescue squad. While the Membership Committee will share more with you during the interview process, this page will share a brief overview of what to expect.
When will I come to the rescue squad?
Once joining the rescue squad, the Captain and Membership Committee Chairperson will assign you to a regular weekly duty crew. During the interview process, we will consult with you to find several different options that would work with your schedule. On the duty crew that you are assigned to, there will be a specific EMT or Paramedic who will serve as your Field Training Officer (FTO). It is your FTO's job to make your transition to the squad as comfortable as possible, teach you the knowledge and skills needed to be successful with our squad, and support your learning while you attend EMT class. While we know that things sometimes come up, we expect new members to regularly attend their weekly scheduled duty shift with thier FTO so that you can take advantage of the time to learn and grow.
Can I come outside of that duty time?
Absolutely! The only exception to this rule is from 11 PM - 7 AM during which time only our trained EMTs and Paramedics run. We encourage you to come more than your scheduled duty time. This gives you more experience in the back of the ambulance and will allow you to become more comfortable.
What happens during my duty time?
You will be given uniform shirts to wear while you are on duty. During your scheduled duty time, your FTO will train you on a variety of things and in general will be available to be a resource to you to help you with anything you are doing in class. During your downtime on duty, you are free to use any of our computers (or bring your own laptop/tablet), watch TV in any of the lounges, make a meal or eat out with your crew, or participate in a variety of other activities with your crew. Many EMT students use our computers during their shift to work on their homework for EMT class. Your duty crew is like your rescue squad "family".
How much duty time do I volunteer for a month?
We require a minimum of 12 hours a month but encourage you to give more if possible. We have a large job of providing emergency medical services to the community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Do I have to earn my EMT before getting on the ambulance?
No. Once you join the rescue squad, we will certify you in Healthcare Provider CPR. Once you have successfully been certified in CPR, you may ride along on the ambulance with your FTO or another medically certified member.
What if I want to practice my skills for class while on duty?
We have an entire room dedicated to training at the squad, which includes up to date training equipment. Anything you use in class can be found in our training room. We encourage you to practice while on duty and use the resources of your FTO and our in-house instructors to help you with this.
When is my membership reviewed?
For your first year of membership, you will be classified as an Apprentice Member of the rescue squad. Your status as an Apprentice Member is reviewed at two points: at 6 months and 1 year. As long as you are attending class, performing your expected duties, and meeting your requirements you will be accepted as a member. If you need a little more work, your apprentice period can be extended six months at a time.
What happens after the EMT class?
Until we are sure (and when you are comfortable) that you are ready to handle patient care in the ambulance on your own, you will continue to run with another member. Additionally, you will need to complete an Orientation Progress (OP) Card with your FTO which will check you off on skills and knowledge of our organization and operations. Once you are ready to provide patient care in the back of an ambulance on your own, the Captain will discuss with you where the best time of the week will be to serve your duty. It may remain on the same day or it may go to another day, based on your schedule and the needs of the rescue squad.
We encourage our Operations Division members to attend and pass the Maryland Emergency Medical Technician course as soon as they can. This course, allows you to learn the skills and knowledge necessary to be certified as a Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT) in the State of Maryland. Here are some frequently asked questions about the course:
Who teaches the class?
The class is taught by the University of Maryland - Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI). MFRI has local instructors, some of whom are members of our rescue squad, that teach these classes. MFRI has a regional office and training center in Cresaptown, MD (behind the prison complex), however not all EMT classes are always taught at that location.
How often is the class offered?
The class is usually offered in Allegany County 2-3 times per year. Most often, these classes begin in the months of August, January, and June. MFRI offers these classes based on interest and minimum student enrollment. You can find the current class offerings on the MFRI website.
When does the class meet?
Class meeting days and times change with each semester, but usually, classes meet one weeknight a week from 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM and one weekend day from 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM.
How many hours is the class?
The class is a minimum of 195 classroom hours, which are a mix of both lecture and practical skills. Above this, students are also required to complete 10 patient assessments on 10 different emergency calls under the supervision of another EMT. Additionally, each week, students have a series of online homework assignments that follow along with their textbook reading. Outside of class, students can expect to put in about 4 hours on homework each week.
How many months does the class last?
The class typically lasts about six months. Usually, the classes follow this time period:
Are all class sessions mandatory?
Yes, all class sessions are mandatory. While taking the class is quite a commitment, the rewards at the end are worth it!
What is the EMT class like?
The EMT class is a college-level course and runs similar to what you would expect in college. Between lectures and practical sessions, you have homework. The course follows a nationally accredited curriculum and has three formative exams consisting of written tests and practicals. The class is equivalent to 6 credit hours in Humanities Studies, which may be accepted by some colleges and universities towards a degree.
How do I actually earn my EMT certification?
Once you have successfully completed the EMT course, you will sit for a State of Maryland Practical Examination that is conducted by evaluators from the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS). This exam will test all your practical skills from the course in a scenario-based structure. Once you have passed the practical examination, you will be cleared to take your National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians written examination. This exam is a computer adaptive multiple-choice exam, which can be taken at any Pearson VUE testing center.
The course sounds like it is very challenging.
The course is quite challenging, however, if you're willing to work hard and put in the time to study, you should have no problem passing the course. Additionally, we have multiple MFRI instructors in our organization who will be more than willing to help you as you progress through the course. Your assigned Field Training Officer will also assist you as needed.
How much does the class cost?
The class is offered free by the State of Maryland for anyone affiliated with an Emergency Services organization within the state. The only cost associated is the textbook, if you decide to keep it after the class is over, which is around $130. Once you are certified as an EMT, you may request that we reimburse you for the copy of the book. If you are not affiliated with an Emergency Services organization in Maryland, the cost to take the class is over $2,000.
Do I have to join a rescue squad in order to take the EMT class?
Yes, you must join a rescue squad or fire department in order to be sponsored for a class.
What if I want to earn my Paramedic instead of EMT?
Many people who join the rescue squad are interested in eventually becoming a Paramedic. This is a very long and challenging process, which can be done but will take time. The first step, which is required, is to successfully take and pass the EMT class. Once you have done so, we then require that you actively run ambulance calls for at least three years before we will sponsor you for a Paramedic class. Paramedic classes are two-year programs and well over 2000 hours of combined course work and clinical rotations.