Sterling Rescue’s motto is “Empowered to save. Inspired to serve.” This service takes many forms. On April 29th and 30th , Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad (SVRS) supported the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival 2022 with its Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) and Bike Team capabilities.
The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, which began in 1924, is dedicated to promoting the beauty of springtime and the apple blossoms in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley through events and initiatives that enhance community spirit and showcase the local agricultural heritage. The Festival returned in 2022 after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, attracting over 300,000 spectators and participants.
Large events require special emergency medical support capabilities. The Winchester Fire and Rescue Department leads the effort and is supported by other fire and rescue organizations, including Sterling Rescue.
For Apple Blossom 2022, Sterling Rescue provided its Polaris UTV and a two-person Bike Team in support of the Firefighters Parade on April 29 th and Grand Feature Parade on April 30. The Polaris UTV is outfitted with a power cot (bed) for patient transport and basic life support (BLS) treatment equipment,including a defibrillator. The Bike Team carries first aid and defibrillation equipment in saddlebags on their bikes. Together, the UTV and bikes provide a substantial initial response capability that is well-suited for events like Apple Blossom.
The effort on the ground was led by Lt. Michael Medwedeff, and supported by SVRS members Emelyn Hernandez, Justin Hill, Rick Jackson, Katrina Kenneweg, Sarah Lindquist and Joe Morganti.
“It was great to provide our special events assets again after reduced operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our support came together quickly and we had the opportunity to train additional members in special event operations. We were pleased to deliver outstanding support to the City of Winchester and the Apple Blossom Festival and are looking forward to attending next year.”
-Lt. Michael Medwedeff
Traditional ambulance support cannot operate safely and effectively on city streets crowded with tens of thousands of spectators. To address these unique requirements, the Winchester Fire and Rescue Department, supported by nurses from local hospitals, set up an Emergency Medical Aid Station (EMAS) just outside of the parade area, to dispatch fire and rescue capabilities, assess personnel requiring medical treatment, provide first aid and transfer patients to ambulances for transport to higher levels of care.
The SVRS UTV and Bike Team operated inside of the parade area, working through the crowds and parade activities, to come to personnel needing assistance. The teams also provide Band-Aids and dressings for small cuts and scrapes experienced by participants during the event. For more serious issues, the teams are dispatched by EMAS, in response to 911 calls within the parade area. The Bike Team typically arrives first, assessing patients, providing immediate first aid, and radioing for additional support. The UTV moves through the crowds, able to drive on sidewalks, hop curbs and move across rugged terrain to reach the patient. The team then loads the patient on the cot, provides any additional treatment needed and transports the patient to EMAS for further care. SVRS provided this support for both of the Festival’s major parades.
SVRS’s Apple Blossom 2022 support was a great success. Many thanks to the members who supported the effort. If you are not a member of SVRS and this sounds like something you would like to do, please visit our Join Section to learn more.