The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad recently placed in service three new vehicles aimed at enhancing preparedness and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) response capabilities to Virginia Tech.

The vehicles, partially funded by a Virginia Department of Health grant, will provide much needed radio communications interoperability, logistical coordination, and technical rescue response to incidents occurring on campus.

The first, a modified Chevrolet Suburban, houses a radio communications interoperability system capable of linking communications systems from various jurisdictions in order to better allow first responders to communicate with one another. “The system is intended to increase the fluidity of various emergency response agencies response to an event on campus,” says Capt. Matthew Johnson, of the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad. “The system will benefit all disciplines – EMS, police, and fire.” The system bolsters the university’s commitment to mitigating emergencies on campus using an all-hazards approach.

A modified heavy-duty truck houses a multitude of technical rescue equipment which allows the rescue squad to provide rescue services to the campus in a more effective and efficient manner than ever before. “[The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad] is now able to rapidly deploy lifesaving equipment should the need arise for a technical rescue occur on campus” said Jeffrey Russin, the public information officer for the rescue squad. In collaboration with Virginia Tech’s Environmental, Health, and Safety Services, the squad is working to prepare rigorous pre-plans and train for worst-case scenarios in technical rescue response.

The rescue squad has also acquired a Mobile Logistics Unit which provides the agency with a mobile command apparatus, rehabilitation capabilities, and a larger deployable mass injury response. Operating the only such unit in the immediate area, Virginia Tech Rescue Squad maintains a valuable tool for the campus community and surrounding localities. “We are committed to providing the best possible EMS services to Virginia Tech through innovative means and by aggressively pursuing grant opportunities,” says Johnson.

Marking 40 years of service in 2009, the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad is the Emergency Medical Service agency serving the campus of Virginia Tech. It is a nationally recognized award-winning volunteer student-run organization committed to providing exceptional emergency medical services to the university community. Virginia Tech Rescue Squad maintains three advanced life support ambulances and three specialized first response vehicles offering the highest level of patient care available in the commonwealth with in-station crews ready for service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The agency relies heavily on private donations from members of the university and extended community to fund technological upgrades and capital improvements to better provide this service to Virginia Tech at no cost. More information about donating to the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad, CPR/AED, and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)-Basic courses offered is available online.

All members of the squad receive Virginia State Emergency Medical Technician certification. The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad averages 1,200 emergency calls annually.

Written by Virginia Tech Rescue Squad Capt. Matthew Johnson.

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