February 27, 2024

EMS’ First Citizens Academy Teaches More Than Just How to Save Lives

Participants received hands-on CPR, First Aid and Stop the Bleed training, along with a better understanding of the work of EMS. 

EMS Citizens Academy Graduates

Coming into the first-ever EMS Citizens Academy, Virginia Beach resident Shellee Morris admitted she lacked knowledge about how it was structured or how VB Rescue’s unique system comprises career and volunteer providers from 10 different rescue squads. 

“I’ve lived here 19 years, and I didn’t know,” Morris said during the academy’s last class. “I think this [EMS Citizens Academy] does change public perception…it’s a big deal to educate all of us, ‘cause coming from different places, I think we do have some misconceptions about how this department runs compared to other City departments.” 

VB Rescue – Emergency Medical Services is indeed unique compared to other departments. It’s a combination of volunteers and career members that provide quality pre-hospital patient care, education and rescue services. EMS Chief Jason Stroud oversees 10 volunteers rescue squad partners and EMS stations including: Rescue 1 – Ocean Park, Rescue 2 – Davis Corner, Rescue 4 – Chesapeake Beach, Rescue 5 – Princess Anne Courthouse, Rescue 6 – Creeds, Rescue 9 – Kempsville, Rescue 13 – Blackwater, Rescue 14 – Virginia Beach, Rescue 16 – Plaza, Rescue 17 – Sandbridge. 

There are also rescue squad partners such as the Marine Rescue Team, Rescue Council, VB Rescue Squad Foundation and Tidewater EMS Council. Consider it Virginia Beach EMS’ ecosystem. 

The More You Know

During the six-week academy, 15 participants learned about EMS’ unique combined system, operations, administration and 911 dispatch, but most importantly, hands-on, lifesaving skills and techniques

EMS Citizens Academy Training on Dummy

Rob Davidson, a 15-year Virginia Beach resident, said he signed up for the academy because of the CPR, First Aid, and Stop the Bleed training offered, but gained more than just lifesaving skills. Getting a detailed understanding of Virginia Beach's EMS system provided Davidson a level of reassurance knowing how the organization utilizes both volunteers and career-members to save lives with cutting-edge EMS technology. 

On Feb. 21, the first class of the EMS Citizens Academy graduated at a ceremony in City Council Chamber. 

Spreading the Word 

Derek Fuller, Citizens Academy program manager, said the hope of the academy is that graduates will impart what they have learned to their community and neighbors. 

Davidson said with his training and certification, he can bring it back to his work, share with coworkers and show how beneficial EMS is to the community. 

Morris has already started spreading the word. She invited Fuller to speak at a Lynnhaven Colony Civic League meeting, where she is president. 

“In my opinion, that shows the academy is already a success,” Fuller said. 

Follow VB EMS on Facebook, Instagram and X for photos from the academy graduation and other EMS-related accolades. 

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 ems.virginiabeach.gov. 

Joining Virginia Beach EMS and VB Rescue is incredibly easy. Visit ems.virginiabeach.gov/volunteer to learn more and start your application today! You can also contact Virginia Beach EMS at vbems@vbgov.com. 

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