Our squad members come from various backgrounds, but all members have this commonality - they all enjoy serving their community.
For the most part, our members are what you might call "regular" people. (Webmaster's Note: Oh, sure, we have our own brand of "kooks." After all, what organization (or family) doesn't?)
Among our members, we have high school students, an accountant, an active duty Army officer, a GEICO employee, a nurse, a housewife/domestic engineer, a retired Marine, a mechanic, and many others. We have people who enjoy riding motorcycles, people who love to fish, people who are computer geeks, people who love their families, people with kids involved in school and sports, and people who love living in Stafford county. In other words, people just like you.
Because our rescue squad is made up of people just like you, we are always in search of people (are you ready for this?) JUST LIKE YOU!!
Check out our Join Us link up there on the menu line. Your story could be right here.
So, what exactly does the rescue squad do?
Well, we're volunteers who provide emergency medical services to Stafford County. Along with the dispatch office, law enforcement officers and fire companies, we are a part of the community's emergency services system.
Great, but what does that really mean?
While this story does not reflect what may have happened on a real call for assistance, this is an example of what we do for the citizens of Stafford County:
It's 3am. Your five-year-old is having the worst asthma attack you have ever seen. As your child struggles to breathe, you call 911.
Miles away, a team of volunteers is sleeping soundly in their bunks at the squad building. But not for long...
Within moments of your call, the 911 dispatcher has sent a call over the radio to the squad house.
"Child with difficulty breathing. 98 Main St. Rescue Station 7. Time is 03:01"
The quiet of the squad building is shattered as the groggy squad members stumble out of bed, grope for their clothes and head out to the ambulances. By the time the squad members get into the ambulance, they are fully awake, evaluating the quickest route to the scene and reviewing medical protocols and standing orders based on the preliminary information that the caller provided to the dispatcher.
The garage door goes up, the red lights start flashing and the ambulance calls in to say that they are on the way.
"Stafford, Ambulance 71 is responding."
And the dispatch office acknowledges:
"Ambulance 71 responding. Time is 03:04"
Our next task is to find your house. Hopefully, your house is clearly marked with large, reflective numbers that are easily seen from an ambulance hurrying down the road. If not, we may drive right past you more than once before we figure out which house is yours. We try very hard not to knock on the wrong door at 3 am.
Once we have arrived, we will assess your child's condition. We will listen to his lungs, count his respirations, check his pulse and blood pressure and probably give him oxygen. We will ask you a series of questions about your child's age, medical history, any medications he is taking, and any allergies he might have. It is also important for us to know what, if anything, your child has eaten, how he has been feeling during the day and what he was doing when he first began experiencing symptoms. We will discuss with you whether or not to transport your child to the hospital and if so, which hospital. We typically transport patients to Mary Washington Hospital.
While enroute to the hospital, we will continue to monitor your child's vital signs. Depending on the severity of your child's condition and the certification level of the volunteers present, we may start an IV or administer additional medications. Soon it is time to radio the hospital to let them know we are coming. The hospital expects us to report some basic information about our patient's condition, such as his most recent vital signs, chief complaint and pertinent medical history.
When we arrive at the hospital, the charge nurse meets us in the hall and tells us which room has been prepared for your child. We settle your child into the hospital bed, give the nurse a detailed report about your child's condition on scene and during transport and officially transfer care over to the emergency department staff. Then we say goodbye and, hopefully, you never see us again.
Though we have said goodbye to you and your child, the call is far from over for us. We still have to fill out paperwork, exchange equipment, clean and re-stock our ambulance. By the time we leave the hospital it is almost five am.
If there is time, we might go through a drive-thru for breakfast on the way back from the hospital. Some of us might have to shower and head off to work; the lucky ones can crawl back into bed and try for a few more hours sleep.
We often wonder what happens to our patients after we leave them at the hospital. The rules of patient confidentiality forbid hospital staff from revealing anything but the most general information to us about the patients we bring to them, but occasionally we are able to get an update later in the day. Most of the time, we never find out what happens to the people we help. We love it when our patients send us a note to let us know how they are doing.
Being a member of a rescue squad requires many hours of hard work, but the rewards are considerable. If you would like to know more about becoming a member, go to our Join Us page.