Lee Wilson last week photographed a pair of vintage rescue squad vehicles in Mount Olive. They're shown below and are quite cool. But did you know that fully five volunteer rescue squads are still serving in Wayne County? Here’s an overview and historical perspective:
Goldsboro Rescue & EMS
One of the oldest squads in the state (let's say top fifteen), they were organized with the help of the Goldsboro Fire Department and the Goldsboro Lions Club. The project started in 1952 to organize the squad. There was a campaign to raise funds for a new rescue truck as well as equipment. The Lions Club purchased a new 1952 Chevrolet truck, which was housed at the Central Fire Station. Goldsboro Rescue was placed in service on March 18, 1953, and answered its first call on March 21. Here’s a prior blog post on the subject.
In 1961, a new building was erected at 615 North Madison Avenue in the center of town, and served as the squad’s new headquarters. (That's right behind Fire Station 2 at the corner.) On January 24, 1972, the squad changed their legal name to Goldsboro Rescue and Emergency Medical Services Inc. The organization remained staffed with volunteers until the 1990s, when part- and full-time personnel were hired to help with calls during the day.
On November 8, 1976, squad member Kenneth Lee Davis was killed when his "rescue van" was struck by a passenger car at New Hope Road and State Road 1709. The unit was returning from a call. Read prior blog post. Earlier that year, James M. Hickman drowned while attempting to rescue a motorist trapped in flood waters on Highway 117. Read prior blog post.
In 2002, Wayne County EMS began serving the county with paid personnel. That year, the Goldsboro squad building was largely taken over by Wayne EMS. The building continues to house the squad’s memorabilia, as well as EMS 61 and the WayneNet transportation service. The vehicles owned by the squad, however, were transferred to the county.
In 2013, celebrating their sixtieth anniversary, Goldsboro Rescue & EMS returned the antique 1952 Chevrolet truck to the Lions Club. The squad remains active, and its members, though few in number, assist the county as needed, mainly during football season.
[ Postscript: Goldsboro Rescue Squad Inc. was incorporated on January 24, 1972. Before that time, or much earlier in its history, it was operated by or as an extension of the Goldsboro Fire Department. On April 20, 1989, they changed their name to Goldsboro Rescue and Emergency Medical Services Inc. ]
Mount Olive Emergency Services (MOES)
Originally named Mount Olive Rescue Squad, they were organized July 1958 with
only seven members. The first state-certified volunteers joined in 1975. There
are currently twenty-seven members on the roster, with fifteen active. Squad
members hold basic, intermediate and paramedic certifications. Two of the
antique rescue vehicles are still housed at the squad building and were photographed by Lee Wilson last week:
Lee Wilson photos - See more
Mount Olive Rescue Squad was restructured in 1999. The name was changed to Mount Olive Emergency Services and incorporated on October 10, 2002. Also that year, Wayne County became the primary provider of 24/7 paramedic care in the county. Mount Olive was the last rescue squad incorporated into the new formed county system. The phase-in process was completed in October 2003. Also in 2002, the county fire departments became responsible for extrication and other rescue services.
MOES continues to provide additional resources for Wayne County EMS. The crews assist with such functions as staffing a second-duty ambulance (EMS 92) provided by Wayne County EMS at various events, such as parades and county functions.
The volunteer members continue to participate in required training each month at the squad building, which is numbered EMS Station 9 and is located 700 N. Center Street in Mount Olive. The organization continues to be members of the Wayne County Rescue Association and the North Carolina Association of Rescue and EMS, in Area III.
Notes the squad “As we look back and see how the system has evolved from just seven members to a state award winning volunteer squad—a tradition that has been passed on though the many years of existence—[we feel] very proud. The members of Mount Olive Emergency Services remain committed to providing emergency services with passionate dedication. It is an honor to serve our neighbors, our friends, our family and our community.”
[ Postscript: Mount Olive Rescue Squad Inc. was first incorporated on November 20, 1991. ]
Fremont Emergency Services
Established in 1964, they were chartered (incorporated) on April 24, 1969, as Fremont Rescue Squad. As the decades passed and the role of emergency medical services became more prominent, they changed their name on October 2, 1989, to Fremont Rescue Squad & Emergency Services.
After the county took over EMS responsibilities in March 2003, the squad was incorporated into the new system. They continued to operate a county-owned second-duty ambulance when available. The volunteers also assisted by responding with personal vehicles, when a second-duty ambulance was not available.
In January 2005, and to support the nation’s homeland security readiness efforts, the squad revised its mission to include responses to natural disasters and mass-causality incidents. This included converting their former rescue truck into a fully-stocked MCI unit, with the capacity to handle fifty patients.
On October 9, 2009, the squad changes its name to Fremont Emergency Services. They’re located at 403 N. Sycamore Street in Fremont.
They’re also a certified Class IV water rescue team, and is part of a statewide emergency response team. They also assist the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department with search missions as needed. They have three support vehicles and two boats.
Learn more on their Facebook page.
Seven Springs Area Rescue Squad
Chartered (incorporated) on February 3, 1976, they still have a few members on the roster and are minimally active. The squad’s activities consist main of special events and assisting Wayne County EMS when available.
When Wayne County EMS was placed in service in March 2002, the first unit was located in the Seven Springs community. The station was later named EMS Station 1 and is located at 407 South Main Street in Seven Springs.
Chartered (incorporated) as Grantham Rescue Squad on December 11, 1985, they changed their name (but not their corporate name) to Grantham EMS in 2012. They are Station 3 in the Wayne County EMS system.
The organization is still active, but is primarily staffed with firefighters from Grantham Fire Department. Ten volunteer members are not affiliated with GFD. The volunteers are required to have at the minimum an EMT-B certification. Training is held at the station two times a month with an EMS instructor from Wayne Community College.
Grantham EMS operates a county provided second-duty ambulance as needed. The Volunteer ambulance (call sign EMS 32) responds on primary and second duty calls in their district and surrounding districts. Volunteers also respond via POV to calls with basic medical equipment. GEMS also covers special Events for the local school and Fire Departments.
In 2002, GEMS transferred all rescue equipment including two water rescue boats and extrication equipment to GFD. The fire department began providing extrication and water rescue services for their primary district, and neighboring districts.
After the name change, the organizational ranks were changed. The chain of command is now Chief, Assistant Chief, Captain, and First Lieutenant. GEMS is governed by six Board of Directors, and along with a Secretary and Treasurer to handle all business affairs.
Goldsboro Fire Department provided EMS services until it merged with Wayne County EMS in October 2002. When did GFD start providing EMS? To be determined.
The fire department had two EMS units with paid staff.
In October 2001, Wayne County EMS was established by the county Board of Commissioners. This action was in advance of state legislation passed in January 2002, that placed the responsibility for EMS coverage "squarely on county government."
The county was currently spending $1 millon annual for EMS services, but did not receive any revenues. The Board took a proactive stance to begin countywide EMS service for all citizens. A billing system was placed in service. The level of care for all calls was upgraded to paramedic.
On March 1, 2002, what was later named EMS Station 1 opened in the Seven Springs community. On June 1, 2002, Station 2 opened at the Rosewood FD and Station 3 opened in Grantham. On October 1, 2002, the county merged EMS with the city of Goldsboro. Station 4 was opened at Goldsboro FD Station 1.
Other (later?) locations were Station 5 at Goldsboro FD, Station 6 at Goldsboro FD Station 2, Station 7 at Fremont, Station 8 at Dudley FD, and Station 9 in Mount Olive. In January 2007, Wayne County EMS began responding to all medical calls at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.
In 2012, quick response vehicles (QRVs) were added to the EMS system. Two are housed at EMS Station 8 and at Belfast Fire Department. They provide paramedic support.