December 7, 2023

EMS Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Emergency Coronary Care Program in Virginia Beach

EMS providers from past to present celebrate the continued advancement of patient care.

Emergency Coronary Care Program Founding Members

Pictured (L-R): Emergency Coronary Care Program founding members Dr. Andrew Dickinson, Floyd Waterfield, John Dickens, Jane Brumley and John Perry pose with retired Department of EMS Division Chief Ann Taylor.

The Department of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) gathered at the Historic Cavalier Hotel & Beach Club on Wednesday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Emergency Coronary Care Program (ECCP) in Virginia Beach.

“I’m very thankful to be able to gather with some of our members from past and present to celebrate this phenomenal program,” Chief of EMS Jason Stroud said. “The ECCP revolutionized patient care in Virginia Beach and the Commonwealth at-large. It serves as the precursor to VB Rescue as it stands today.”

The ECCP brought volunteers together from the rescue squads of Virginia Beach to create the nation’s first all-volunteer advanced life support program. The ECCP’s first students completed the program in 1973, training cardiac technicians to offer emergency medical care previously available only in hospitals to the Virginia Beach community.

One of the ECCP’s founders, Dr. Andrew Dickinson, spoke at the event and touted the lasting success of the program. Dickinson, along with Dr. James P. Charlton, directed the program in its infancy and helped develop it into what it is today—the City of Virginia Beach Department of Emergency Medical Services.

“It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come,” Dickinson said. “Teaching CPR was a big deal back then. We never thought we would be able to teach it to everyone like we do now.”

EMS celebrated the historic ECCP anniversary with City and state officials, as well as with original members of the program. Sentara Virginia Beach General and Princess Anne Hospitals, Emergency Physicians of Tidewater, the Historic Cavalier Hotel & Beach Club and the Virginia Beach Rescue Squad Foundation graciously supported this event.

“We’re proud to offer the highest quality of emergency prehospital medical care to our community, and we would not be able to do so without those that came before us,” Stroud said. “The ECCP is our foundation of what we do today, and we couldn’t be prouder of this tradition.”

EMS is an award-winning third-service agency that answers more than 53,000 calls for service annually. Through VB Rescue, EMS utilizes a combined career-volunteer workforce and was named a 2023 American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline Gold EMS Agency. Learn more about EMS by visiting

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