05/11/14 1170 W - + 8 - 3 Raleigh Rescue Squad in 1968

We've been researching the history of Wake County's rescue squads and emergency medical services this year. The resulting research documents are loaded with details and a fair amount of context. What's missing, to a degree, is a street-level perspective. What did a day or week or month "in the life" look like?

Here's a glimpse into the Raleigh Emergency Rescue Squad, and it's calls during the first two weeks of January 1968. Plus a list of more interesting or unusual "outside city" responses during the whole the year. These come from the fire report ledgers that were maintained by the Fire Chief's office, and recorded every emergency call answered by fire units.

Unless otherwise noted, these were answered by Rescue 1, an all-white 1966 Chevrolet panel truck. It was housed at Station 1 and presumably staffed by two people, a Fire Rescue Officer and a firefighter. Was the second position dedicated, or did they grab someone from the engines or ladder? Don't know.

Rescue 2 answered some of these calls. What was that? Good question. Based on the recorded calls, this was a transport-capable unit that responded when Rescue 1 was already on a call. Mostly like this was the prior Rescue 1, a 1954 GMC panel van. There's a chance that Rescue 2 was the 1954 Reo Civil Defense rescue truck. But that would've made for a cumbersome patient transport!

Where was Rescue 2 housed? And who staffed the thing? Based on the needs for bay space, probably somewhere other than Station 1. (Might the unit even been a temporary unit, in service due to local ambulance issues? See notes at the end.) Anyway, onto the call records. 

January 1 - January 15, 1968

Times are dispatch, arrival, and cleared

Assorted Out-of-City Responses in 1968


Who were answering rescue calls in Raleigh or Wake County at this time? In Raleigh, emergency ambulance service was provided by Ambulance Service of Raleigh and Overby Funeral Home. Except... there were some issues with ASR, which had stopped city service in September 1967. Were they operating in January 1968? Don't know. Based on the volume of these calls and the notes therein, guessing Raleigh Rescue might've been a primary emergency ambulance service. And/or, alongside Overby.

How about in Wake County? The community rescue squads that were operating consisted of Wendell Rescue Squad (1962) and Wake Forest Rescue Squad (1965). There were also funeral homes providing emergency or at least convalescent ambulance service in Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Wake Forest, Wendell, and Zebulon.

See this Raleigh/Wake rescue squad history document (PDF) for more details.

For a long time, the 1954 GMC was kept at station #3 (time period of the late 60s to early 70s). I saw it answer one call, to a wreck at Poole and Beverly, but I am not sure when that was.
DJ - 05/12/14 - 09:36

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