North Carolina Rescue Squad History (2013)

This is a re-posting of a Blog Archives posting that is no longer available. It was originally posted on May 5, 2013.

Introduction

What was were the first rescue squads in North Carolina? This question was recently discussed on Facebook. Below are some of the highlights Note that “rescue squad” often meant the equivalent of a “first aid truck” and/or “crash truck.” Patient transportation were functions often added later, to supplement or replace the funeral homes and later ambulance services that provided same. The longest lifecycle of these squads was first aid/rescue services > patient transport > basic patient care > advanced patient care. The first rescue squad in the country is the Roanoke Life Save Crew in Virginia, organized in 1928.

Obvious milestones in North Carolina EMS and rescue history include Office of Civil Defense resources during the Cold War years, the implementation of NC DOI credentialing for rescue squads, the creation of NC EMS office and program(s), the implementation of First Responder programs, the addition of advance patient care levels (EMT-I, EMT-D, paramedic), etc. (This blogger is a fire historian not an EMS historian. Apologies for outright errors.)

Earliest Rescue Squads

The first rescue squads were not initially incorporated. WSRS was organized in 1937, but incorporated in 1947, for example. The actions to incorporate were perhaps tied to monetary donations and asset insurance.

  • Winston-Salem Rescue Squad, formed 1937.
  • Elkin Rescue Squad, formed 1941[1]
  • Davidson County Rescue Squad, formed 1941.

Other groups, pre-incorporation?

  • Vance Life Saving and Rescue Squad is cited as the state’s second rescue squad. Dates TBD.[2]

Early fire department rescue squads?

  • Greenville FD – 1947
  • Washington FD – 1951
  • Goldsboro FD – 1953
  • Raleigh FD – 1953
  • etc.

Early fire department ambulances?

  • Goldsboro FD operated two ambulances in the 1950s/60s
  • Salisbury FD, Wilmington FD operated ambulances in the 1970s.
  • etc.

[1] Elkin Rescue Squad cites itself as “second oldest” in the state, source: http://elkinrescue.tripod.com/id3.html. They were incorporated ten years later in 1951, from state corporation records.
[2] Vance Life Saving and Rescue Squad also is cited as “second oldest” in the state. Need citation/source. 

Earliest Incorporated – Rescue Squads and/or Life Saving Crews

From the state corporations web site, the earliest incorporation dates are:

Winston-Salem Rescue Squad, Incorporated 2/21/1947
Charlotte Life Saving and First Aid Crew, Inc. 7/18/1947
Gaston Life Saving and First Aid Crew 6/23/1948
Rowan County Rescue Squad, Incorporated 7/23/1951
Elkin Emergency Rescue Squad, Incorporated 9/25/1951
Granville County Life Saving and Rescue Squad, Incorporated 8/25/1953
The Raleigh Emergency Rescue Squad, Incorporated 8/27/1953
The Vance Life Saving and Rescue Squad, Incorporated 9/10/1953

Rescue Squad Inc.

State records list 340 corporation names containing the words “rescue squad.” The earliest incorporation dates are:

Winston-Salem Rescue Squad, Incorporated 2/21/1947
Rowan County Rescue Squad, Incorporated 7/23/1951
Elkin Emergency Rescue Squad, Incorporated 9/25/1951
Granville County Life Saving and Rescue Squad, Incorporated 8/25/1953
The Raleigh Emergency Rescue Squad, Incorporated 8/27/1953
The Vance Life Saving and Rescue Squad, Incorporated 9/10/1953
Old Richmond Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc. 4/16/1954
Montgomery County Rescue Squad, Inc. 11/8/1954
Catawba Valley Life Saving and Rescue Squadron, Inc. 3/14/1955
Hickory Rescue Squad, Inc. 3/14/1955
Wilkes Rescue Squad, Inc. 8/19/1955
Burke Rescue Squadron, Incorporated 8/30/1955
Davidson County Rescue Squad, Inc. 1/30/1956
Lexington Rescue Squad, Inc. 1/30/1956
Walnut Cove Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Incorporated 3/9/1956
Scotland County Rescue Squad, Inc. 7/6/1956
The Roanoke Valley Life Saving and Rescue Squad, Inc. 8/27/1956
The Roanoke Valley Rescue Squad, Inc. 8/27/1956
Cabarrus Rescue Squad, Inc. 3/6/1957
Madison-Rockingham Rescue Squad, Incorporated 4/8/1957

Life Saving Crews Inc.

State records list eleven corporation names containing the words “life saving crew” but not the words “rescue squad.” These might include ocean rescue agencies, not sure.

Charlotte Life Saving and First Aid Crew, Inc. 7/18/1947
Gaston Life Saving and First Aid Crew 6/23/1948
Marks Creek Life Saving and First Aid Corps, Inc. 1/7/1952
Mount Holly Lifesaving Crew, Inc. 8/24/1954
Mount Holly Life Saving and First Aid Crew, Inc. 8/24/1954
The Lincoln County Life Saving and First Aid Crew, Inc. 3/11/1957
Rutherford County Life Saving and First Aid Crew, Inc. 5/5/1958
Cleveland County Life Saving and First Aid Crew, Inc. 6/18/1958
South Mecklenburg Life Saving and Rescue Crew, Inc. 7/27/1961
South Point Life Saving Crew, Inc. 10/31/1969
Onslow Volunteer Emergency Life Saving and Rescue Crew, Inc. 1/29/1970
North Bound Life Saving Crew, Inc. 4/7/1972

Reader Comments

Joseph Zalkin – Mike – Thanks for the post. Each of our communities have a rich history of the development of our emergency services. Some interesting folklore as well. Our pioneers are getting fewer and fewer as time goes by. Hopefully, some champions will emerge among your readers who can help in the research and documentation of our history. Ambulance services and first aid teams spot out history. As a native North Carolinian, I know of some of the milestones that NC has contributed to the industry. We need to share the word. JZ

Uncle Bill – Dear Sir, I grew up in Onslow County, North Carolina during the 1950s and 60s. My father, George Earley, was a business man and special deputy with the Onslow County Sheriff’s Department. Our family was involved all the law enforcement and safety organizations there centered in Jacksonville. My parents owned and operated Earley’s Auto Service which included a wrecker service. A part of the business was responding to automobile wrecks and providing wrecker service and wheels to for the NASCAR races at the local half-mile dirt track. Needless to say we saw and responded to many terrible accidents. Around 1962 my father, along with Clyde Cook who was the Chief Of Police, began to prepare a Ford Fairlane station wagon as a rescue vehicle. Many other people were involved in providing gurneys, oxygen tanks, Grappling hooks and lines, etc. I’m not sure of the date it was put into service, but I do know that it served for a period before other vehicles were added. I am not claiming to be an authority on this matter. I am simply responding to the omission of this general information. There are people still living who could verify and complete this information. Your kind consideration would be greatly appreciated. I, also, acknowledge that corroboration of the facts may prove to be very difficult. I am not suggesting any error or intentional omission only that this event did occur. Sincerely.

Judy Anderson – Hi Bill, this history is very interesting. Thanks for trying to put it in one place. The Goldsboro Rescue & EMS Volunteer Rescue Squad (Originally Goldsboro Rescue Squad) was originally a part of the Goldsboro Fire Department before becoming Goldsboro Rescue Squad in 1953. (Incorporated in 1953). The Squad ran it’s first official call on March 23, 1953. They continued to run out of the Fire Department until they completed their building in 1961 at 605 North Madison Avenue, Goldsboro, NC, where it still is today. We celebrated 60 years on March 23, 2013. We were originally considered among the top 2 or 3 in the state. Wayne County has a long history of service to the community thru its volunteer rescue squads. Thanks again, Judy L. Anderson-Kornegay, Goldsboro Rescue & EMS, Goldsboro, NC.

Judh Anderson – Bill, please forgive me. I got a date wrong. The project started in 1952 to try to organize the squad; it was organized and put in service March 18, 1953. It received its first call on March 21, 1953. Thank you Judy L. Anderson-Kornegay, Goldsboro Rescue Squad (Goldsboro Rescue & EMS). I will have to try to find out exactly when it was “incorporated”. Judy L. Anderson-Kornegay. Maybe you can “edit” my other comment. Thank you very much.

Legeros – Thanks for your comments, Judy! Take a look at this posting from the other week, which specifically recalls the Goldsboro Rescue Squad and other Wayne squads: http://www.legeros.com/ralwake/photos/weblog/pivot/entry.php?id=6647. Here’s a picture of the Goldsboro squad in 1953, as seen in Hose & Nozzle magazine, http://legeros.com/ralwake/photos/weblog/pivot/entry.php?id=2965. Taking a look at state corporate records, Goldsboro Rescue Squad Inc. was incorporated on January 24, 1972. I will add that information and other incorporate dates to my Wayne County summary, noted abov

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