Virginia Beach is the most populous city in Virginia and the 41st largest city in the United States with approximately 450,980 residents (98% urban, 2% rural). Population change since 2000: +6.0%.
The city’s history dates back more than 400 years when the first English colonists who ventured to the New World stopped at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay on April 26, 1607. They spent three days here, erected a cross then moved on to form the colony of Jamestown.
The city has a council-manager form of government and has one of the lowest crime rates for a city of its size in the nation per the FBI.
Virginia Beach is home to a civilian workforce of 225,000. The MSA’s civilian labor force is substantially larger, which allows businesses to draw from a pool of more than 810,000.
The Virginia Beach MSA is home to 12 major military installations representing all branches of the US Armed Forces. The major employer is the Department of Defense of 4 military bases in the city employing more than 32,000 military and civilian employees with a combined annual payroll of more than $1.8 billion.
We operate the nation’s largest volunteer based rescue system. Ten volunteer rescue squads work together with 56 career staff to provide emergency healthcare services. Over 800 active volunteer members staff ambulances, specialty teams, and help behind the scenes. VBEMS has received numerous awards plus local, national, and international recognition for the services and volunteer strength we have.
Our annual budget is over $7 million. Tax dollars and grants fund Department operations including fuel, insurance, the public beach lifeguard contract, training, salaries, and some equipment. The rescue squads purchase and maintain their own equipment and ambulances through fundraising, grants, and donations. Each year more than $8 million worth of volunteer hours are donated to the City by EMS volunteers and much more than that amount is also provided in equipment, supplies, grants, and facilities by our 10 volunteer rescue agencies and other partners.
In 2016, VBEMS responded to 45,899 calls for service. We average 125 calls per day and we operate using a tiered response with an average of 10 ambulances and 3 zones cars during the day with 2 supervisors and other specialty teams and equipment. The Fire Department provides first response (BLS/ALS) and the Police Department carries AED’s and responds to potential cardiac arrest cases.
Specialty teams include the Air Medic Team, SWAT Medic Team, Bike Team, Heavy Squad Truck Team, Disaster Preparedness, Marine Rescue Team, Dive Team, Sandbridge & Little Island Lifeguard Service, Search and Rescue Team, Duty Field Supervisor Program, Recruitment and Retention Team, and the Support Services Group.
The system’s fleet includes 37 ALS equipped ground ambulances, 1 air ambulance, 2 heavy squads, 6 boats, 2 MCI trucks, 13 zone cars, 3 supervisor vehicles, and numerous support vehicles.
Our providers are trained to the National Registry standard from EMT through Paramedic. We have over 600 EMT’s and over 200 ALS providers. VBEMS partners with Tidewater Community College to provide student internships and we provide extensive offerings of initial and continuing education programs. We provide in-house EMT training with several classes each year.
Our programs include: rapid sequence induction, therapeutic hypothermia, CPAP, surgical cricothyrotomy, 12-lead EKG with transmission, transport ventilator, video laryngoscope, EZ-IO, electronic EtCO2, emergency medical dispatch, public access defibrillation, MDT, CAD, AVL, 800 MHz radio/data system, community vaccinations, STEMI program, stroke program, medical friendly shelter, EMS speaker bureau, community outreach and community CPR. Patient care equipment utilized in the field includes Physio Control LP15 monitor defibrillators.
VBEMS works closely with the Council of Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squads, Virginia Beach Rescue Squad Foundation, Virginia Beach EMS Association, Virginia Beach Association of Rescue Squad Volunteers, our local healthcare facilities and health department, Tidewater EMS Council and related regional healthcare and public safety boards, committees, and teams.