Who We Are
Since its inception in 1969, the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad has been committed to serving the university community with the best possible emergency medical care available. The agency began responding to emergency calls in personal vehicles with medical equipment purchased through private donations. Charter members of the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad developed the bedrock goals, values, and missions that still define and guide our operations to this day.
Today the agency operates with 40 members trained in basic and advanced life support procedures to give every patient the best possible care. The Rescue Squad operates a fleet of three advanced life support equipped ambulances, one advanced life support quick response vehicle, a communications interoperability command and control unit, a support truck, special operations unit, mass casualty response unit, cycle emergency response team, and an all terrain vehicle. Continually growing and varying, the EMS field is young and ever changing. The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad strives to provide the most cutting edge techniques and technologies to its patients.
Members of the organization are certified as Emergency Medical Technicians by the Virginia Office of EMS and the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Certifications ranging from EMT-Basic to EMT-Paramedic are available to the university community through the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad’s rigorous training and exercise initiatives.
The Rescue Squad is nationally renowned in the collegiate EMS community for its disaster preparedness. The agency continually assists collegiate and career agencies in disaster planning for their campus communities. The DeKalb Fire Department serving Northern Illinois University utilized reports of the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad’s response to the tragedy of April 16, 2007 and its Operational Plan as resources when drafting DeKalb’s own disaster preparedness documents. Fortunately this collaboration allowed DeKalb Fire Department to be more prepared to respond to a campus shooting, which tragically occurred at Northern Illinois University.
The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad is tasked with the organization and coordination of EMS activities at all athletic standby events, concerts, and special events campus wide. The Rescue Squad continually updates and recommends changes to internal and departmental emergency plans to address new hazards, improved management, and compliance with local, state, and federal mandates for incident management.
The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad was awarded the Leo F. Schwartz award for national EMS agency of the year in 1988, the Governor’s Award for Excellence in EMS in 2000, the Stars of Life Award by the American Ambulance Association in 2007, and the 2008 Student Organization of the Year award from the Virginia Tech Department of Student Activities. In addition, the agency has received numerous commendations including those from President George W. Bush, Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine, US Department of Homeland Security Administrator R. David Paulison, and Virginia Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell. Recent local recognition has been awarded to the Rescue Squad by the American Red Cross, Blacksburg Rotary Club, and Virginia Tech Student Government Association.
Community outreach continues to stand as a top priority of the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad through community cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), automatic external defibrillation (AED), and basic first aid courses. The Rescue Squad also values residence hall awareness and education programs, specifically relating to drug and alcohol abuse, as an advantage to members of the community.
The squad proudly celebrated its 50th anniversary in spring 2019.