Fast, efficient reaction and response is just one of the reasons the Blacksburg squad was recognized earlier this month as the Outstanding Regional Emergency Medical Service Agency for 2006.
"We're very proud to be the recipient this year," said Sid Bingley, the squad's rescue chief. "We're very honored to get it."
The award -- presented by the Western Virginia EMS Region -- is given to one agency for outstanding professionalism and service to the community, high level of patient care evidenced by innovative training, community awareness, preventive health programs, public relations efforts and involvement in local, regional and statewide EMS systems.
Bingley said the all-volunteer agency in Blacksburg has been working hard to make changes and improve the quality of emergency medical and rescue services to the town and a portion of Montgomery County.
"We're now covering 24 hours a day," he noted. "We've expanded our scope of what we do into heavy tactical rescue. Nobody is doing that here.
"We also do wilderness search and rescue," he added, noting that the squad is in the process of finalizing a merger with the Southwest Virginia Mountain Rescue Group.
Operating a squad with only volunteers, Bingley explained, is "becoming harder and harder to do."
To that end, the Blacksburg squad has enlisted the help of Virginia Tech student volunteers and medical professionals in the community.
"We have a very eager, willing and intelligent group of folks working with us now," he said, pointing to the fact that the squad has 65 to 70 active volunteers.
"It fluctuates," he added, "because we always have people leaving.
The Western Virginia EMS Region includes 12 counties and six cities, including Roanoke.
Because the Blacksburg squad was a first-place winner, it will be eligible to compete at the state level in the Governor's EMS Awards this fall.
Recipients of the 2006 Governor's EMS Awards will be announced on Nov. 11 at the 27th annual Virginia EMS Symposium in Norfolk.
Written by Roanoke Times
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