August 22, 2020
By: Staff Report
SUN CITY CENTER, Fla. – The Emergency Squad was recently notified that it was selected by EMS World in association with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, for national recognition as the Volunteer EMS Service of the Year. This is a national award, with multiple categories, is open to agencies across the country. The Squad received a plaque and will be awarded a $1,000 honorarium.
The Sun City Center Emergency Squad got it’s humble beginnings back in 1964 when a doctor local to the area decided it was just not okay for people in a growing elderly population to have to wait the 45 minutes for ambulatory transport that it would take back in those days. Knowing a lot of lives would be lost, he knew he needed to do something. He compiled a group of volunteers to form what would become the Emergency Squad. He organized training and even acquired a hearse to use for ambulatory transport. In those 55+ years, things have only gone uphill.
Their motto is, ‘Neighbors helping Neighbors.” The center operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year.
According to their website, “We provide basic life support emergency services, wheelchair van transportation to appointments for those who are wheelchair-bound, blood pressure checks, and more – all at no cost. Everything we do for our community is free.” The organization responds to nearly 5,000 calls per year and covers an estimated 20,000 residents per year during the peak season.
Operating on nothing but community donations, the facility operates 1 fund drive per year – but they continuously receive all of the funding they need. Aside from monetary donations, other types of donations are gladly accepted, such as canes, walkers, and wheelchairs.
In June, we spoke with Chris McCann, Assistant Chief of HR at the Organization. She told us what an incredible environment it is to volunteer for the facility and shared some pertinent information those looking for volunteer opportunities should know.
“Our volunteers all have each other’s back. We become like a family. We look at pictures of each other’s grandchildren, and we laugh together and cry together.” She went on to say, “The average stay of our volunteers is 5+ years. Some of our volunteers have been here for upwards of 30 years.”
Earlier this year, the Squad was recognized by the Hillsborough County Commissioners for their 55+ years of service in its south county community.