FAQs | Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad


Your questions. Our answers.

Here are some of the questions we hear the most. If you don’t see the answer to something you want to know, please feel free to contact us.

How long has the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad been around?
The Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad has been serving since May 1st, 1952. More than sixty proud years.
What’s the story behind your white uniforms?
Our founding members chose white and after 60 years, we continue to wear white with great pride; it’s become our brand. Other advantages to wearing white uniforms are that we are better able to see and address any fluids that get on us, and we are not mistaken for the police. Sometimes, that’s important. We have recently allowed members to wear specific khaki EMT pants when they are on duty if they choose, although the white pants continue to be part of our operational and dress uniform.
How many calls do you get every year?

Last year, our crews—on duty at our two stations and sometimes posted at other stations throughout the city—responded to more than 15,000 calls, about one-third of all the calls in Virginia Beach. The city, by the way, has a population of 450,000 residents with 2.8 million tourists who visit our oceanfront community.

How many members do you have?
We currently have more than 180 operational members, and more than 20 support members.
How much would it cost if you charged the citizens and visitors of Virginia Beach for an ambulance ride?
Of course it depends on the medical treatment provided by ambulance staff, distance traveled and time of day. That said, neighboring cities charge an average of $400. According to a 2012 national GAO study, the median ambulance cost per transport for ambulance providers ranges from $224 to $2,204.
Why does the Fire Department sometime show up at a call?
The ERS (Emergency Response System) consists of Police, Fire and Rescue. With 22 fire stations and just 10 volunteer rescue squads in the city, sometimes they are closer by time and distance to act as first responders in a 911 emergency. Also, they are always dispatched to Priority 1 calls in conjunction with EMS.
Is it true that you offer free CPR classes?
It’s true. We are doing everything we can to help educate our community. We offer the American Heart Association’s Family & Friends® program as well as First Aid, with classes held regularly. To register for a free class or for more information, click here.
How much do you and your nine partner squads save the taxpayers of Virginia Beach by offering your volunteer service?
Every year, we save the city more than $24 million.
How much does it cost to buy a new ambulance?
It costs about $200,000 to replace a current ambulance, but to add a new ambulance to our fleet—with the necessary computers, stretcher, AED, radios, medical equipment and supplies—it costs about $300,000. The volunteers in it, however, are free.
How do you raise funds?
Every year we have spring and fall fund drives. We also have an annual Oyster Roast in March, and get paid for a number of special “stand-by” events all year long, such as marathons and surfing championships. Of course, donations are happily accepted any day, any way. To see for yourself, click here.
Do I have to live in Virginia Beach to join?
No! We have active volunteers from as far away as Williamsburg and Yorktown who are valuable members of our squad.
I’m interested in joining. How do I get the process started?

Go to ems.virginiabeach.gov/volunteer, or you can call the Virginia Beach Department of EMS at (757) 385-1999 for more information.

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