Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why does a fire engine arrive when I call for an ambulance?
In Henrico County, most fire fighters are also EMTs. In cases where a fire engine is closest or in cases where a serious injury or illness warrants additional EMS personnel, a fire engine is often dispatched along with an ambulance.
What are the charges for ambulance service?
There is no charge for ambulance services in Henrico County. Henrico is one of the few localities in the metro Richmond area that does not charge for its services. Tuckahoe is able to provide its services free of charge thanks to the community’s generous donations that pay for equipment, training and medical supplies.
Who are the members at Tuckahoe VRS?
Our membership is a diverse set of EMS professionals with one thing in common: a commitment and passion to serve our community. Our members range in age from late teens to 70’s. Some are life-long residents of Henrico, some are students studying in the Richmond area. We have members who have just recently joined and some who have served for decades. Our members have day jobs in health care, banking and finance, transportation, plumbing and electrical services, law enforcement, firefighting and other fields. Tuckahoe members are students, retirees and full-time workers.
What areas does Tuckahoe serve?
The majority of calls we respond to are in the area from the Richmond city line, westward along the River Road, Patterson Avenue, Broad Street and Staples Mill Road corridors. However, Tuckahoe ambulances may respond anywhere in Henrico County and sometimes respond to mutual aid requests from the City of Richmond or other surrounding counties.
How does Tuckahoe provide 24-hour coverage?
Tuckahoe’s riding members are assigned to specific crews that have regularly scheduled 12-hour shifts. These crew assignments and scheduled shifts allow us to ensure that we’ll have the staffing coverage required to keep our ambulances marked up and available for service calls 24x7x365.
What’s the difference between an EMR, EMT and a Paramedic?
An EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) has the knowledge and skills necessary to provide immediate lifesaving interventions while awaiting additional EMS resources to arrive. EMRs also provide assistance to higher-level personnel, like EMTs, at the scene of emergencies and during transport. You can learn more about EMRs here.
An EMT (Emergency Medical Technician), also known as a basic life support (BLS) provider, is trained and certified to provide pre-hospital emergency care that includes airway management, fracture stabilizations and includes administration of certain medications such as oxygen, nebulizers, narcan and glucose. EMTs have the basic knowledge and skills necessary to stabilize and safely transport patients ranging from non-emergency and routine medical transports to life threatening emergencies. You can learn more about EMTs here.
A paramedic, also known as an advanced life support (ALS) provider, has additional education and is trained to provide critical medical and trauma support such as advanced airway management, IV lines, EKG interpretation, cardiac pacemakers and the administration of additional medications in critical situations like cardiac dysrhythmias, anaphylactic shock and severe pain. You can learn more about paramedics here.
I am interested in volunteering at TVRS. How can I get involved?
We are always accepting applications from EMTs who are interested in volunteering with Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad. We accept members of all ages (16 and above), backgrounds, and experience levels! If you hold a current Virginia EMT certification (or are an EMT student pursuing certification in the next few months), we invite you to fill out an application on our website under the “Join Us” section. If you are not interested in volunteering as an EMT/first responder but have a special skill/service you think would be an asset to the squad, please send an email describing your qualifications and interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
Where can I get EMT certified?
Tuckahoe’s training committee hosts a 5-month long EMT class each year, usually in the Spring. Details and registration information for upcoming classes hosted at TVRS are usually posted on Tuckahoe’s website and social media (Facebook, Instagram) pages each fall. For information about other EMT classes taking place in the Richmond area throughout the year, we encourage you to check out the Virginia Office of EMS website.
How long does the membership process take?
Membership applications are accepted year-round and processed on a rolling basis. Please allow for up to 14 days from applying for your application to be processed. As a part of the application process, prospective members are required to complete an interview, background checks, as well as three ride-alongs. Depending on the time it takes for background checks to be returned, as well as scheduling constraints for ride-alongs, the application process may take anywhere between a few weeks to three months from start to finish. Once the requirements of the membership process have been met, each prospective member will be brought up for a vote in front of the Board of Directors by the Membership Committee. If endorsed by the Membership Committee and approved by the board, probationary members are assigned to a crew, and encouraged to begin riding as soon as possible.
What are the hour requirements for active membership at Tuckahoe?
Tuckahoe VRS does not have strict “hour requirements.” Rather, we operate based on a system of “shift requirements.” Each probationary and active member is assigned to a crew, and is expected to attend each of their crew’s duty shifts. Each duty shift is 12 hours long. Day crews run from 0600-1800 on the same day each week. Night crews ride from 1800-0600 every 8th night. If the member is unable to attend their assigned duty shift, they are expected to find coverage at or above their level (for example, a cleared driver is expected to find another cleared driver to cover their shift).
What if I only want to drive an ambulance?
We do accept members who are only interested in driving an ambulance and who do not want to obtain or maintain their EMT certification. Driver only members must have previous first responder experience (EMS, Fire, Law Enforcement), are required to be 21+ years old and must have EVOC, BLS CPR and are required to obtain or maintain EMR certification or higher within 12 months of their start date.
In addition, driver only members are assigned to the same shift schedule as all other members of Tuckahoe VRS to support our 24/7 volunteer staffing. However, if you are an experienced first responder with a challenging work schedule our operations team may allow some flexibility in the shift requirements on a case-by-case basis (there will be a minimum riding requirement per month).
If you are interested in only driving an ambulance for TVRS, we encourage you to apply and discuss with our membership team.
I am a high school student. Am I able to join the rescue squad even though I am a minor?
We accept applications for prospective members 16 and older who are currently enrolled in an EMT class or already EMT certified. Per Virginia law, members under 18 are not able to become cleared as Attendant-in-Charge or begin training as a Driver until their 18th birthday; however, they can attain clearance as Attendant and serve an important role on their crew. For ride-alongs or members who are minors, we require a parent to co-sign ride-along waivers, as well as give informed consent for you to join the rescue squad as a member.
When space on our trucks is limited we give preference to members who are likely to remain in the Richmond area throughout the calendar year. This means we give preference to applicants intending to either work or attend college in Richmond after high school, where they will continue to ride at TVRS. Please do not be discouraged from applying though, as our staffing needs are always changing and applications are processed on a rolling basis. We have had many members under 18 join the rescue squad and excel as EMTs!
I am planning to move away, leave town, or take a leave from active membership at Tuckahoe within the next few months. Can I still join as a member?
We require that applicants commit at least 6 months of active riding upon joining Tuckahoe as probationary members. This requirement is in place in order to allow new members to be trained to a high standard and become oriented to the squad prior to taking an extended leave from riding, as well as to support our staffing and keep our commitment to serve Henrico County 24/7/365.
Can I complete a ride-along with TVRS if I do not intend to apply to be a member?
Currently, we prioritize offering ride-alongs to membership applicants and EMT students. Ride-alongs for community members are considered on a case-by-case basis. Please send an email to ride alongs to express your interest.