Stryker Power-Load Training

Last Tuesday our members attended training on the Stryker Power-Pro XT, a battery-powered hydraulic ambulance cot. Carmie Elmore went over the cot's new features and provided answers to our membership through a hands-on training in our own bays. Our newest ambulance, Rescue 56, is equipped with this new model. It will not only help us better serve the community but will also help us prevent injury to our own providers. Some of the new features include:

-Allowing our members to load and unload patients with the touch of a button
-Providing fold down railings for the comfort of our patients
-Adding the ability to lift up to 700 lbs without additional personnel
-Allowing us to safely load and unload on the challenging terrains we face in the County
-Adding improved safety to the crew and patient in the event of a vehicle accident

Learn more here.

Stryker Power-Pro XT TrainingStryker Power-Pro XT Training





Medical ID on the iPhone


Medical alert identification tags are incredibly helpful to us in emergency medical services. We train our providers to search for various forms of medical ID tags when encountering patients. Many of you may know someone with a medical ID tag that indicates a severe allergy, diabetes, or another serious medical issue. These alert devices are critically helpful in letting bystanders and emergency responders diagnose and treat medical emergencies.

An example of a traditional medical ID braceletAn example of a traditional medical ID bracelet

Medical identification is helpful if for everyone who interacts with EMS. You may not have a bracelet announcing a peanut allergy, but more and more people are carrying smart phones such such as the iPhone on a daily basis. We are very excited to see the “Medical ID” feature that Apple has incorporated into the Health app on the latest iOS software update. This features allows for users to input emergency contacts and medical history onto their phones that is easily accessible by emergency responders.

To set up your Medical ID on your iPhone:
1. Open the Health app

2. Click on “Medical ID” at the bottom right corner of the screen

3. Enable the “Show When Locked” option. This will create a link to this information on the Lock screen when “Emergency” is tapped.

4. Now you may enter as much information as you are comfortable with, including date of birth, medical conditions, other medical notes, allergies and reactions, current medications, and emergency contact information.

5. Click “Done” at the top right corner to save the information

All of this information is saved locally on the device, and is not uploaded anywhere else. For patients with lots of medications or an extensive history, it may be easier to have a full history documented in this form and just hand the phone to your medical provider. If you have a medical specialist that EMS may need to contact, this is a great place to store their phone number!

In the event of an emergency, your Medical ID is easily accessed with the following steps.


We as medical providers are excited to see this feature added to the iPhone, and hope to see more innovations like this in the future. If you are not sure what type of information to add, a family member or doctor may be able to help you. Our crews are always happy to help as well. We also have a paper form available that can be posted on your refrigerator or by your front door.

How it's Made: Ambulance Factory Tour

Last month we were very excited to send a team down to the Wheeled Coach factory to perform a final inspection and take delivery of our newest ambulance, Rescue 56. Our trucks are replaced periodically from Town of Blacksburg and Montgomery County funds, and we are happy to take delivery of our newest Town truck! While we were there, we decided to take you behind the scenes to give our supporters a closer look at how our trucks are built. We take care when designing our trucks to ensure that safety, comfort, and efficient patient care are top priorities. After seeing this behind the scenes look at the factory, we hope you agree!

This is where chassis are stored before build out.This is where chassis are stored before build out.
Standard vehicle chassis roll into the factory to begin construction.Standard vehicle chassis roll into the factory to begin construction.
The chassis is equipped with a special air suspension to allow for easier patient loading and a comfortable ride.The chassis is equipped with a special air suspension to allow for easier patient loading and a comfortable ride.
Each chassis is cut specially to fit the customer's design.  This allows for the driver and provider to communicate.Each chassis is cut specially to fit the customer's design. This allows for the driver and provider to communicate.
Our trucks have many safety features, such as side curtain airbags.  You can see the airbag mounted above the window here.Our trucks have many safety features, such as side curtain airbags. You can see the airbag mounted above the window here.
Each chassis is equipped with high strength aluminum sill plates.  The rear box will be bolted and welded to these plates later in the process.Each chassis is equipped with high strength aluminum sill plates. The rear box will be bolted and welded to these plates later in the process.
Each ambulance box is built from scratch, starting with extruded aluminum components.Each ambulance box is built from scratch, starting with extruded aluminum components.
Aluminum frame rails are welded together.  This is the structure of an ambulance roof.Aluminum frame rails are welded together. This is the structure of an ambulance roof.
After the structure is welded together, the aluminum skin is glued to the structure.After the structure is welded together, the aluminum skin is glued to the structure.
The ambulance box has structural reinforcement to increase rigidity and safety.The ambulance box has structural reinforcement to increase rigidity and safety.
Wheeled Coach ambulances feature high strength gusset plates for additional strength.Wheeled Coach ambulances feature high strength gusset plates for additional strength.
This is the side panel of an ambulance box before it is connected to the roof and floor components.This is the side panel of an ambulance box before it is connected to the roof and floor components.
This is the floor of the ambulance, where high strength aluminum plates are welded to the frame.  The cot mount and power load system will be secured to these plates on the assembly line.This is the floor of the ambulance, where high strength aluminum plates are welded to the frame. The cot mount and power load system will be secured to these plates on the assembly line.
These cot mounts are continuously welded for maximum patient safety.These cot mounts are continuously welded for maximum patient safety.

Door latches are machined from extruded aluminum rails to create door frames. These latches allow us to secure our equipment and patients, if necessary.Door latches are machined from extruded aluminum rails to create door frames. These latches allow us to secure our equipment and patients, if necessary.
Each ambulance door is fabricated to customer specifications and welded with a robotic welder.Each ambulance door is fabricated to customer specifications and welded with a robotic welder.
Once the box is completed, it moves on to the paint shop!Once the box is completed, it moves on to the paint shop!
The box is prepped with a chemical bath prior to painting.The box is prepped with a chemical bath prior to painting.
Each truck is primed and painted to match the customer's desired colors.Each truck is primed and painted to match the customer's desired colors.
Don't forget to paint the doors!Don't forget to paint the doors!
Interior panels are vacuum formed to fit the customized truck cabs.Interior panels are vacuum formed to fit the customized truck cabs.
Heated plastic is placed on the form and vacuumed to shape.Heated plastic is placed on the form and vacuumed to shape.
This panel is ready to be installed in a cab.This panel is ready to be installed in a cab.
Custom cabinetry is constructed from 3/4" laminated wood in the cabinet shop.Custom cabinetry is constructed from 3/4" laminated wood in the cabinet shop.
Cabinet openings are computer cut for accuracy and efficiency.Cabinet openings are computer cut for accuracy and efficiency.

Dowels and glue hold the cabinets together.Dowels and glue hold the cabinets together.
The exterior of the cabinets are acoustically insulated so that our providers can clearly communicate with our patients and each other.The exterior of the cabinets are acoustically insulated so that our providers can clearly communicate with our patients and each other.
The cabinet component is ready to be placed in the box on the assembly line!The cabinet component is ready to be placed in the box on the assembly line!
Ambulances are a sophisticated electrical machine, and all of the electronics are assembled in-house.Ambulances are a sophisticated electrical machine, and all of the electronics are assembled in-house.
Hundreds of feet of wire are laid out on jigs to assemble wiring harnesses.Hundreds of feet of wire are laid out on jigs to assemble wiring harnesses.
Wiring harnesses are neatly organized to be pulled into the boxes on the assembly line.Wiring harnesses are neatly organized to be pulled into the boxes on the assembly line.
Control panels are pre-connected and will be mounted throughout the truck later on the assembly line.Control panels are pre-connected and will be mounted throughout the truck later on the assembly line.
This circuit panel is complete and ready to be installed.  This is the nerve center of the truck, controlling everything from air conditioning to emergency lights and sirens.This circuit panel is complete and ready to be installed. This is the nerve center of the truck, controlling everything from air conditioning to emergency lights and sirens.
The entire factory uses lean manufacturing processes.The entire factory uses lean manufacturing processes.
Quality control is closely monitored to deliver high quality trucks and an efficient cost.Quality control is closely monitored to deliver high quality trucks and an efficient cost.
Efficient processes are used wherever possible.Efficient processes are used wherever possible.
Inventory is closely controlled to reduce waste.  These machines dispense safety glasses, adhesives, and many loose components that can be easily misplaced (but not in this factory!).Inventory is closely controlled to reduce waste. These machines dispense safety glasses, adhesives, and many loose components that can be easily misplaced (but not in this factory!).
Quality is monitored throughout the process to ensure that nothing is missed and that the trucks stay on schedule.Quality is monitored throughout the process to ensure that nothing is missed and that the trucks stay on schedule.
The result of the lean manufacturing process is less waste and increased efficiency.The result of the lean manufacturing process is less waste and increased efficiency.
All of the components come together on the assembly line for final installation.  In this picture the wiring harness has been added and the floor has been installed.All of the components come together on the assembly line for final installation. In this picture the wiring harness has been added and the floor has been installed.
Any box openings are sealed to prevent exterior fumes from entering the patient compartment.Any box openings are sealed to prevent exterior fumes from entering the patient compartment.
Trim components are added to the box.Trim components are added to the box.
The ceiling, air ducts, and seat belts are added.  The truck is almost complete after a few more components are added!The ceiling, air ducts, and seat belts are added. The truck is almost complete after a few more components are added!
Before the truck rolls off the line, the entire truck gets a thorough check.Before the truck rolls off the line, the entire truck gets a thorough check.
And here come some completed ambulances!And here come some completed ambulances!
Customers inspect the ambulances prior to taking receipt, and any issues are identified and corrected.Customers inspect the ambulances prior to taking receipt, and any issues are identified and corrected.
Once completed, ambulances from this factory are shipped all over the world.Once completed, ambulances from this factory are shipped all over the world.
Blacksburg Rescue 56, ready for service!Blacksburg Rescue 56, ready for service!
This factory is full of complicated machines and processes, but we would not be getting quality ambulances for our patients without the dedicated staff.This factory is full of complicated machines and processes, but we would not be getting quality ambulances for our patients without the dedicated staff.

Thanks to everyone at Wheeled Coach for being a critical part of our patient care team. Extensive testing, such as center of gravity, side impact crash, corner impact drop and frontal impact hygee sled testing, reveals that Wheeled Coach is dedicated to the safety of responders, patients and members of the community alike. In fact, Wheeled Coach is the only ISO certified ambulance manufacturer in the United States. Wheeled Coach is a part of the National Truck Equipment Association Member Verification Program, a member of the AWS Certified Welders and a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier. By using an ISO 17025 Certified Third Party testing lab, it is guaranteed that the safety regulations are truly met by using KKK-A-1822F certification criteria.

If you are in the process of designing a new ambulance, Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad highly recommends contacting Steve Meador (phone (540) 797-7216) at Select Custom Apparatus . New Rescue 56 and Steve will be on the floor at Virginia EMS Symposium this week in Norfolk, VA.

The Blacksburg Vol. Rescue Groundbreaking Ceremony

On Saturday, Oct. 25th we kicked off the busy weekend with our official Groundbreaking Celebration. Over 150 communities members came out to show their support and walk through the marked building footprint.

The new station that will be located on the corner of Patrick Henry Drive and Progress Street will be 24,981 square feet and will house all of our emergency vehicles. We have partnered with the Town of Blacksburg, WMA Architects, and Omega Construction, Inc. to design the new station.

The groundbreaking celebration was found to be a huge success with the help from some local sponsors such as Hethwood Market, Signspot, G+S Entertainment, and Montgomery Sanitation. In addition to comments from Mayor Ron Rordam and other distinguished guests, we announced the launch of our new “Tilt” campaign. This fundraising campaign will help us outfit our new spaces such as offices, conferences rooms, common areas, training and education areas, work spaces and living areas. Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue is looking for community partners to help reach their goal of $350K. To help support the Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad please visit us here.

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The New Rescue 56

We at Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad are excited to welcome one of the newest members to our growing family. Rescue 56 has joined the fleet of vehicles that helps us get our patients to the hospital safely. “Is it just another ambulance,” you ask? Well this beauty is the first in the Blacksburg fleet to come equipped with the Stryker Power-Load, a power-loading cot fastener system. This system is used to improve operator and patient safety by supporting the cot throughout the loading and unloading process.
Rescue 56 at Final InspectionRescue 56 at Final Inspection
According to EMSWorld.com back injuries account for more than 20% of all workplace injuries in the United States and are a particular problem in EMS, where at any given time nearly 10% of the workforce is out of work from injury. As a result, nearly 25% of all EMS workers experience career-ending back injuries within the first four years of their career. With the Power-Load system we hope to decrease the risk of injury to our providers and patients.
Rescue 56 will be showcased at the 35th Annual Virginia EMS Symposium in Norfolk, VA on November 5-9. Read more about the other equipment we use here.

Post by
Samantha Lambert

We are Family

Just type in “firefighter bro….” Or “police bro…” into a Google search, and the top hits will be about the “brotherhood.” But, you can try to bend the letters and the words and the search strings all you want, but for some reason, you won’t get any hits on something resembling “Rescue Brotherhood.”

Frankly, I have no idea why not.

Ask anyone on Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad why they think it is special. You’ll get a lot of answers that talk about friends, community, helping people, and fun. More importantly, you’ll hear about the Family.

For so many of us, the rescue squad is our family.

We join the squad for any number of reasons. We want to find something that might help in medical school, or nursing school. Or, we had belonged to a squad in some other hometown, before coming to Blacksburg. Maybe we were looking for something to fulfill and enrich our lives, sharing a talent that not many others possess, or are willing to share. We all came to the squad for a variety of reasons, but most of us stay because of the family.

The family is a bit of a side-benefit of the rescue squad, but it’s a large part of the reason so many of us stay. It’s the glue that holds us all together (and believe me, there’s enough that we go through that can make even the strongest of folks come unglued). We share tearful goodbyes, and joyful reunions. We celebrate any (and every) occasion with food and fellowship. We marry, we have babies, and we grieve together and celebrate the lives of our family members when they depart us to their forever journey.

We organize meals to take to friends who need it. We cook an “orphan” Thanksgiving dinner for the friends who can’t travel back home. We share our experience and knowledge by tutoring. We read and edit resumes and college entrance essays. We loan our houses (and our freezers, and our showers) when the power goes out elsewhere in town. We check on each other’s family when the cell service is down. We cover shifts to allow our members to be with their families in times of need.

We vacation together. We serve as stand-in parents for the little ones during meetings, date nights, work shifts—we play “pass the baby” lest his feet ever touch the ground. We offer brute strength for floor stripping, wood chopping, house-switching, woodstove-moving. We care for each other’s pets, from cats to horses and everything in between. We build cabinetry, paint trim, pressure-wash. We loan out our kitchen equipment. We lend a skilled ear to identify a frustrating car sound. There are stories behind each of these examples, and dozens more.

But most importantly, we support one another. We count on our friends and our family, and we know that the same care is provided to us. A call or a text to a friend, to let her know you’re thinking about her. A hug and a wink to let him know that you have his back. A round of laughter, an inside joke. It is all part of being in the Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad family.

We are a village. We are a family.
Post by Kinsey O'Shea

We work together.We work together.
We train together.We train together.
We serve one another.We serve one another.
We feed together.We feed together.
We raise our children together.We raise our children together.
...and our grandchildren....and our grandchildren.
We send each other off to college...We send each other off to college...
...and to medical school......and to medical school...
We suffer together. We remember together.We suffer together. We remember together.
We honor together. We are Family.We honor together. We are Family.

Post by Kinsey O'Shea

Active Shooter Response: How BVRS Responds

"Active Shooter" situations are a hot topic in the first responder community. In short, an active shooter situation is an event where one or more assailants is engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a building or other space. Historically the standard response for these events has been for law enforcement to respond, secure the scene, clear the entire building, and only after law enforcement guarantees that the building is completely secure would EMS enter the building and begin treating injured people. This falls in line with the EMS mantra "scene safe-B.S.I" that has been drilled into our minds since our first EMT class. Unfortunately, waiting for the scene to be completely secure means that patients lay there suffering and dying. Study of these events shows that the more rapidly critical interventions can be performed after onset, the more lives can be saved, and at Blacksburg Rescue, that's what we are all about!

We have been refining our Rescue Task Force model for several years. Rescue Task Force is our solution to active shooter situations. We have partnered with local and regional law enforcement to create a safe method to access and treat patients. We have carried out successful RTF trainings with law enforcement in Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and Radford, and look forward to sharing this program with the EMS community. Yes, there is absolutely some risk involved in this response. There is risk in everything we do. When we start and IV, there is risk. When we extricate patients from cars, there is risk. Every time we open up the bay doors and respond to another 911 call from our community, there is risk. We mitigate each and every risk by identifying the problem, studying the potential outcomes, developing a means to respond, and training heavily to mitigate those risks.

The Journal of Emergency Medical Services recently published an article by William P. Fabbri, MD, FACEP entitled FBI's View to Improving Survival in Active Shooter Events. This article reinforces the Rescue Task Force concept we wrote about in May, 2013 Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad Partners with Police to Create Rescue Task Force. Each community is different, and no single approach can be applied to all public safety agencies. Nevertheless, we encourage our partners in public safety to look at all of the data surrounding active shooter response and develop an appropriate response to protect your communities.

If you are interested in learning more about the Blacksburg Rescue RTF Model, please contact Captain English for more information.

BVRS Featured in the May 2014 Edition of "JEMS"BVRS Featured in the May 2014 Edition of "JEMS"

New Station Groundbreaking

BVRS GroundbreakingBVRS Groundbreaking
Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad would like to formally invite each and every one of you to our official Groundbreaking Celebration! We have been working very hard with the Town of Blacksburg, WMA Architects, and Omega Construction to design our new home, and we are excited to kick off construction with our community.

The event will be held on October 25th, 2014 from 10am-1pm at our new location on the corner of Patrick Henry Drive and Progress Street in Blacksburg, VA. Parking will be available nearby (please do not park in the adjacent neighborhoods) and the site is easily accessible by Blacksburg Transit.

In addition to comments from Mayor Ron Rordam and other distinguished guests, the celebration will include ambulance and rescue truck tours, tours of the new station layout, children's activities including bouncy houses, coloring, face-painting, and food from Hethwood Market.

We hope you mark your calendars to join us for this monumental occasion. If you have any questions about the design and construction of our new facility, be sure to check out our web page at BVRS New Station.

For event updates and to RSVP, head on over to our Facebook page at The BVRS Groundbreaking Ceremony.

We are raising money to equip the new facility with furniture, training materials, and other equipment to enable us to serve the community. If you are able to support us, please click here.





Big Rig Rescue Training

Several of our rescue technicians recently attended Big Rig Rescue training through Central Carolina Community College. The two-day course, held at the Wake County Fire Training Center in North Carolina, was an excellent opportunity for our crew to practice how to respond to incidents involving large vehicles. BVRS handles these types of incidents as part of our technical rescue responsibilities in the Town of Blacksburg and surrounding portion of Montgomery County.

Trash Truck On CarTrash Truck On Car
Blacksburg sees a significant amount of heavy vehicle traffic on a daily basis. Route 460 is a major artery for truck traffic from the Port of Virginia to points west. With all of the growth and construction in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech, and the surrounding areas, we are seeing more heavy vehicles in town than ever before. With this training we are better prepared to respond to incidents with heavy vehicles.

Under TrailerUnder Trailer
Trailer LiftTrailer Lift

If you are interested in seeing more about the Big Rig Rescue class, check out this video.

Creating an Emergency Supply Kit

September is almost over but there is still one more day left in National Preparedness Month. In honor of this, we would like to share FEMA’s Emergency Supply List to help you create an Emergency Supply Kit for your family. Creating an Emergency Supply Kit will help prepare you and your family for potential natural disasters as well as other large scale events.

FEMA’s Emergency Supply List (http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1390846764394-dc08e309debe561d866...):
Recommended items:
-Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
-Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
-Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
-Flashlight and extra batteries
-First aid kit
-Whistle to signal for help
-Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
-Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
-Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
-Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
-Local maps
Additional items for consideration:
-Prescription medications and glasses
-Infant formula and diapers
-Pet food and extra water for your pet
-Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
-Cash or traveler’s checks and change
-Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from www.ready.gov
-Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
-Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants, and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
-Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper (When diluted nine parts water
to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to
treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not
use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.)
-Fire Extinguisher
-Matches in a waterproof container
-Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
-Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
-Paper and pencil
-Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

An Emergency Supply Kit is just one of many steps towards having a full Emergency Plan for your family. Will be sharing additional steps and suggestions on our blog and Facebook page. Feel free to check out FEMA’s site (www.ready.gov) for more information in the mean time.

Jessica Bulloss
Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue

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