On Sunday, December 6, 1953, with about 60 members and one ambulance, the Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad (TVRS) opened its doors. After a months-long organizing, fundraising and training campaign, the squad began operations out of a garage at the Epiphany Lutheran Church at Horsepen and Monument.
After a year of operations, responding to over 300 calls, the squad moved into two trailers – one for dispatch and one for crew quarters – located on the site of our current headquarters on Horsepen Road. Training efforts continued with members completing American Red Cross first aid classes.
Fundraising efforts also continued and on November 7, 1955 the cornerstone for the present-day TVRS Station 1 was laid. Much of the station’s construction was complete by squad members and supportive citizens from the community. The building was dedicated in July 1956 and a second ambulance was added to the fleet.
By 1958, TVRS was regularly called upon for specialized rescue operations like water rescues, aircraft emergencies, constructions site accidents and other situations where specialized equipment was required. The first “crash truck” was placed into service in 1958 and contained the latest tools for vehicle extrications and rescue emergencies.
In the following years, the squad invested more training time and financial resources in preparing for even more difficult rescue operations including building collapses and nuclear fallout due to the cold war. Community involvement increased significantly with newspaper articles, fund drives, parades and even “Rescue Squad Appreciation Days.” There were expansions to the building to provide space to store ambulances and crash trucks, the addition of the meeting room and eventually bunk rooms so that the night crews could remain on-site for emergency calls.
The next 10 years saw major advances in the training of EMS personnel. In 1968, Virginia passed the Virginia Ambulance Law establishing the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services within the Department of Health and giving it the authority to regulate all ambulance services. In 1971, the first National EMT course curriculum was established and the first EMT training course at TVRS started in 1972. The first ALS providers graduated as “Cardiac Technicians” in 1973 and the first EMT-Paramedics were certified in 1976. In 1977, Henrico County and the City of Richmond were the first Virginia localities to adopt the 911 emergency call system.
The 1980’s saw the continued expansion of TVRS and EMS services in general. Women, previously assigned only auxiliary roles, were admitted as full riding members. Subsequent to a medical emergency at the Fr. McDonald Columbian Center on Pump Road in Short Pump, TVRS was granted a plot of land on which our Station 2 was constructed. This would provide more ambulance service with faster response times to the far west end of the county. The “James J. Carroll” building was officially dedicated in March 1985. The first Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system was put into operation and the basic 911 system was replaced with the enhanced 911 system that provides information on the caller’s location. In addition, Henrico County Division of Fire, having operated a county-wide fire department since 1962 and a coordinated network of independent fire stations since 1952, began offering EMS services in July 1988, using the enhanced 911 system and CAD to integrate with the volunteer rescue squads.
Today, TVRS continues to operate 24x7x365 with approximately 80 riding members and many more who continue to provide vital support to the Squad’s ongoing operations.