As Virginia Tech’s community grows, so does the need for the services of the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad.

By judiciously saving money and with help from the budget office, the rescue squad has received its first new ambulance in seven years. Ambulances generally have a life span of about 10 years.

The new ambulance, called Medic Unit 15-3, made its debut at the Blacksburg annual Holiday Parade and Winter Lights Festival on Dec. 1. It includes $10,000 in state-of-the-art life-saving equipment, first-aid supplies, and an upgraded stretcher loading system. The ambulance is smaller than the squad’s other two ambulances, which will allow drivers to more easily navigate tight spaces and access more areas on campus.

The new Medic 15-3 replaced a 2009 ambulance and allows the squad to maintain a fleet of three ambulances to service the increasing needs of the community. The $170,000 ambulance was manufactured by Wheeled Coach in Orlando, Florida. It took about three months to build and features the university’s new logo and the new uniform patch. The patch, located on the driver and passenger doors, provides a new look for the squad, highlighting Burruss Hall and the university’s motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad's new ambulance contains an upgraded stretcher.
The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad's new ambulance contains an upgraded stretcher.

The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad is a completely student-run, volunteer emergency management agency that serves the Virginia Tech community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The squad has more than 40 student members who perform the same functions as a municipal rescue squad and handle about 1,200 calls per year. The students are dispatched from their station on Barger Street and rely heavily on their fleet of three ambulances to get them to the scene.

Students who serve on the rescue squad provide emergency care and rescue to individuals having medical emergencies, including motor vehicle and construction accidents, natural disasters, and more.  The rescue squad has served the university community since 1969 and is the oldest collegiate rescue squad in Virginia and the second oldest in the nation.

The new ambulance (right) will replace one of the older ones of the four-vehicle fleet.
The new ambulance (right) will replace one of the older ones of the four-vehicle fleet.

In addition to emergency calls, the squad serves behind the scenes at every Virginia Tech home football game, providing emergency medical services to a crowd of up to 66,000 fans. Before, during, and after each game, the student volunteers staff four first-aid stations with up to eight beds in each. They provide treatment to people with a multitude of injuries, illnesses, and other issues, and they transport patients in need of more advanced medical care to local hospitals. They operate three ambulances and help with other logistical and support roles inside and out of the stadium.

Through specialized equipment and extensive training, members of the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad are prepared to provide the best care to the Virginia Tech community.

The new ambulance sports new, updated graphics including the new academic logo.
The new ambulance sports updated graphics, including the new academic logo.

 Photos and video by Olivia Coleman