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Exploring Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad

Celebrating SVRS History on EMS Week

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In celebration of EMS Week, Sterling Rescue participated in a special event at the American History Museum sharing the stories, history, and artifacts of EMS in America. The event was hosted by the Smithsonian along with National Highway Transportation Safety Administration/Emergency Medical Services (NHTSA/EMS) the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). 
Featured at the special event was Sterling 2. The 1963 Cadillac Ambulance was the third vehicle purchased for the Sterling Park Rescue Squad (now known as Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad). Originally owned by the McLean Volunteer Fire Department, the rescue squad purchased the vehicle in 1967 where it remained in service in the Sterling Rescue fleet until 1974. Following its faithful service to the Sterling community, the ambulance was donated to the Neersville Volunteer Rescue Squad to be used as the department’s first ambulance.

The Cadillac came into existence when the rescue squad wanted to convert the 1959 Chevy Apache Panel Truck ambulance to a Crash (rescue) Truck. To accomplish this and to ensure a backup within the fleet the members of the squad sought to purchase a used ambulance.

At the time the unit was going up and down the streets in Sterling Park, members of the rescue squad were trained to the American Red Cross Advanced First Aid level with CPR certification to follow a few years later. Equipment on the ambulance back then was limited to an aspirator, oxygen, stretcher, backboard, splints, and some medical supplies.When two-way radios were introduced to the county, the radio designation for the Cadillac Ambulance was Sterling 2 since it was the second unit out of the station. At the time, Sterling Park was a new community, Route 7 and Route 28 were single lane roads, and patients were transported either to Loudoun Hospital in Leesburg or Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church. Space in the back of this ambulance was tight, not much head room or ability for the attendant in the back to move around. However, those that drove the unit said that it drove well, it rode smoothly, and it required some distance to stop.

Sterling 2 saw a lot of action within the department, transporting many community residents and visitors to the hospital for emergencies ranging from simple injuries to heart attacks and everything in between. Sterling 2 participated in many large-scale incidents to include the floods associated with Hurricane Camille and Agnes, the presidential inauguration of Richard Nixon, Transpo72 at Dulles International Airport, and the airplane crash on Mt. Weather.

In 1967, a fire broke out in the garage where the ambulances were kept. One of the squad members saw the smoke coming from the garage, ran over, and drove the burning ambulance out of the garage, saving both the building and the Cadillac Ambulance.

The members took great pride in their investment as it was their flag ship vehicle. Sterling 2 is representative of the great amount of pride within Rescue Squad and the organization’s dedication to service in the community.

Former SVRS long-time Chief Byron Andrews was there to present Sterling 2. He was honored to mee John Moon, one of the first paramedics in America. John was in a group of men in the Hill area of Pittsburgh, PA, who was one of the founding members of the Freedom House Ambulance Service.

 

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