Winston-Salem Rescue Squad
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Last updated: Oct 9, 2021
1937 to 1949
- 1937 - Founded, first in the state, and one of the first in the country.
Founder Roy Kane moved to Winston-Salem that year, and had been a member of
the Roanoke Life Saving and First Aid Crew in Virginia, the first
independent, and all-volunteer rescue squad in the United States.
meets with "twenty interested men" at the YMCA on June 3, 1937. Source: WSJ,
- 1938 - Squad cited in news story as assisting with searching for a
drowned person on the Yadkin River in May 1938. Source: WSJ, 5/29/38
- 1939 - Squad will be ready about May 15, reports April 9 news story.
Squad will have 20 active members, with officers Captain Roy H. Kane,
Lieutenant C. B. Kane, Secretary Herbert Caudle, and Secretary-Treasurer C.
D. Cozart. Plus two doctors as medical advisors, and an attorney as legal
advisor. The organization is "wholly volunteer" and will not charge for
their services. Squad presently includes ten men, and membership will be
limited to twenty. All have passed standard and advanced Red Cross first aid
courses. Source: WSJ, 4/9/39.
- 1939 - Squad will be ready for operations on May 21. Their equipment
includes a "boat, grappling irons, kapok coats, life preservers, and other
articles to be used in water." They also have a gas mask. Source: WSJ,
- 1940 - Squad adds panel van, to carry members and their equipment, plus
a trailer that carries their "heavy equipment." Source: WSJ, 10/22/40.
- 1943 - Squad adds "portable lighting plant" equipped with five
"50-candle lights" that can operate under its own power for at least three
hours. WSJ: 11/4/43.
- 1940s - Squad adds iron lungs as equipment for polio patients, and
assisted with moving the devices between hospitals and polio camps
throughout northwestern North Carolina. By December 1947, they have a
"portable iron lung" donated by the Junior Chamber of Commerce. Source: WSJ,
- 1947 - Snapshot, from March 7 newspaper article. The volunteer group has
eighteen men. The Captain of the squad is R. T. Clinch.
- 1947 - Incorporated.
- 1949 - Squad receives "new life boat" and trailer. The 12-foot boat is
all-metal and was donated by Zinzendorf Laundry, while the trailer was built
by members form materials donated by Brenner Iron and Metal Company. Source:
- 1949 - Snapshot. Squad's equipment consists of two boats, two trailers,
two motors, drag irons, grab hooks, portable iron lung, diving helmet, two
light plants, steel stretcher, gas masks, breathing apparatus, torches, and
a water pump. Squad can be reached by telephoning the police, the sheriff,
Vogler's Funeral Home, or Wall's Funeral Home. Source: WSJ, 10/8/49.
1950 to 1974
- 1950 - City council approves transfer of "iron lung truck" to the rescue
squad. Source: WSJ, 2/4/50.
- 1950 - Squad now has three new Scott Air-Paks, for "rescue work in
burning buildings." Source: WSJ: 5/27/50.
- 1950 - Snapshot. Squad answered 36 calls from October 1949 to October
1950, and conducted 52 meetings and drills. The calls included two drownings,
standby at twelve stock car races, and administering oxygen to ten people.
Source: WSJ: 12/8/50
- 1952 - Squad receives keys to new home, an "old outbuilding" behind the
Elks Club on High Street. They squad's equipment includes two trucks "with
red lights and sirens." Source: WSJ, 6/8/52.
- 1960 - Squad adds third vehicle, a station wagon equipped with "two-way
radio, wrecking tools, first aid kits, and resuscitator." The car will be
used to transport personnel where need, with the other trucks carrying the
heavy equipment. It will help eliminate the need for members driving their
own cars. Notes the news story, the squad has no intention to compete with
funeral home ambulance services. Source: WSJ, 9/20/60.
- 1968 - Squad receives former funeral home ambulance from county, after
county takes over ambulance operations from funeral homes in January.
Source: WSJ, 7/9/68
- 1968 - New headquarters building decided on April 6, 1968. The five-bay
building at 2955 N. Liberty Street included an "oxygen therapy room, storage
room for all equipment, large conference room, sleeping quarters, locker
room, two half baths, captain's office and fully equipped kitchen." Source:
Jews story, June __, 1968.
- 1972 - County approves connecting the county ambulance service with the
communications system of WSRS. Source: 10/3/72.
1975 to 1999
- Evolved over the years and decades from "men [who] taught basic first
aid, to EMTs [that] taught the most up to date life saving skills, [rescue
trucks with] heavy cumbersome Jaws of Life to the current modern light
weight Hurst equipment, [and the addition of] Dive Teams, Large Animal
Rescue Teams, Confined Space Teams, High Angle Rescue Teams, Trench and
- Late 1990s - Squad is second in the state recognized as a certified
Heavy Rescue Provider. Services were expanded to include other technical
rescue disciplines, including collapse/cave-in and water/dive. Squad was
first in the state to have an animal rescue team.
2000 to 2014
- Late 2000s - By that time, call volume had greatly decreased. The squad once answered
3,000 calls a year, and at a time when all the squads in the county answered
10,000 calls a year.
- 2009 - By that year, squad answered a little over 100 calls a
year. They were evenly distributed between human rescue, animal rescue, and
medical stand by.
- 2009 - WSRS and Forsyth County EMS conduct negotiations for months,
to add the squad and its members to the county EMS system.
- 2009, December 21 - County commissioners approve agreement to transfer members and assets to
FCEMS. They adopt a resolution to acquire the assets of the squad, and
adding eligible squad members to the Forsyth County Emergency Services
The squad's rolling stock consists of:
- 1995 Chevrolet cargo van for water rescue
- 1996 EZ-Go
golf cart with stretcher
- 1998 homemade trailer to transport golf cart
- 2000 Spartan heavy-rescue truck
- 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe
- 2002 Hart
- 2003 Ford dolly [?]
- 2004 Tesh boat trailer, plus FSI
inflatable boat and Zodiac inflatable boat
- 2005 Freightliner/MB2
trench/structural collapse truck
- 2007 Endura trailer
- 2010, January 1 - WSRS merged with FCEMS. The volunteer members, which numbered near forty,
became EMS reserves. They continued to perform specialized rescue duties,
and also helped EMS on many calls.
- 2013 - Discussions conducted through the year to find a new home
for former WCRS members, who were controlled under the Forsyth County
Emergency Services Reserve program. The new home was proposed at Mineral
Springs Volunteer Fire and Rescue (MSVFR), and their board conducted
discussions with the WCRS board, and FCEMS.
- 2013, fall - Discussions are finalized. Rescue 603 and the
animal rescue trailer, and all active membership, will become part of
- 2014, January 1 - Merger made effective. The old WCRS
building, Station 6, is closed after nearly 76 years of service.
Courtesy Winston-Salem Rescue Squad
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