This is an updated version of a blog archives posting from April 2011.
Let’s go back in time to 1976, when city and county officials were working to provide a better level of emergency medical service to residents of Raleigh and its suburban areas outside the city limits. Funeral homes hadn’t transported patients for about a decade. Various private ambulance companies had come and gone. The current provider for Raleigh residents was Beacon Ambulance Service, operating under that name since 1969. They also answered calls in the county.
The Raleigh Fire Department rescue squad– now with two units, since 1975– also transported patients in a pinch and notably when Beacon units were unavailable. But neither fire nor ambulance personnel were providing much in the way of advanced first aid. The First Responder program was still a few years away, as well.
Outside of the city, there were community rescue squads operating in Apex, Cary, Wake Forest, Wendell, and Zebulon. Some of those had been around for over a decade; others were fairly new. Six Forks Rescue Squad started that year, in 1976. They were staffed with volunteer members.
Beacon had been receiving a subsidy from the county and had asked for an increase in 1975. That and other issues had both city and county officials considering their options for the best combination ambulance and medical service for Raleigh residents. Thus the proposed Rescue Medic program, a city-county initiative to add Emergency Medical Technician-staffed ambulances to the Raleigh Fire Department.
It proposed creating four two-person medic units that would be housed at four fire stations: Station 1, Station 10, Station 6/14, and Station 4/15. The fire department’s two rescue squads would be housed at Station 2 and Station 9. And their response areas would include some territory outside the city limits.
The proposal was created for the Wake County Office of Emergency Management. Staffing, equipment, response projections, alternate models, it’s all here. The plan was not adopted, of course. The county instead created its own EMS agency that year.
Read the Rescue Medic proposal (PDF)
Read about the history of Raleigh’s rescue units (PDF)