CARS is a volunteer rescue squad with approximately 160 active members. We have been serving the community continuously since 1960. We are a member of the Virginia Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads assigned to District I. In 2008, we ran over 12,000 calls and Firehouse Magazine ranked us as the busiest volunteer rescue squad in the country.
CARS operates eight advanced life ambulances (medic units), three advanced life support quick response cars (zone cars), two heavy rescue trucks (squads), a water rescue truck with two boats, a technical rescue truck, a collapse rescue trailer, a command car, a mass causality incident truck and a special events bicycle response team with support trailer. All current apparatus is owned by the department and was purchased primarily with funds raised through donations from our community.
CARS has a shift supervisor on duty who is known as the Duty Officer. The Duty Officer is immediately available to actively manage the operational and administrative issues of the agency while ensuring that Emergency Medical Services are provided to the community in the most effective manner. Specially selected personnel take turns for 12 hour shifts to ensure that operating procedures and guidelines are being followed consistently. They manage the department’s tactical resources on a minute-to-minute basis, and provide Incident Management System services at major incidents. These commanders, while on duty, maintain the rank of Deputy Chief and carry the delegated authority of the Chief. They are authorized to modify incident assignments, execute policy, conduct investigations, and initiate corrective actions.
The Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad has over 85 personnel trained in ALS and over 75 certified at the EMT-B level. Paramedic certification includes over 600 hours of classroom training and months of practical rotations in the hospital, along with a minimum of 40 hours of continuing education annually. ALS certified personnel can initiate complex medical and airway procedures for critically injured trauma and medical emergency patients. EMT-B providers receive 121 hours of training and are taught basic intercessory procedures to react to most any emergency situation. These technicians are also able to assist patients with administering their own medications.
We are dispatched on emergency calls by the Emergency Communications Center (ECC). Assignment of apparatus to emergency calls is predetermined based on response time and distance. Most members carry a department issued pager or use a smartphone app which alerts them to major emergency calls and assists in bringing in additional staffing during peak call loads.
To learn more about us, check out the Milestones in Our History page.
(Updated in 2015)
To provide continuously improving high quality emergency medical and special rescue services to the citizens of the Charlottesville, Albemarle and the University of Virginia communities by utilizing the collaborative effort of a diverse team of highly skilled volunteers in alliance with partner agencies.
(written in 1960)
To save life and administer first aid, to teach methods of safety and first aid to the general public and in the schools; to serve in time of flood, fire, hurricane and famine; to render assistance in case of accident, casualty and illness; to instruct its members in principles and applications of life saving and first aid.
The Albemarle Rescue Squad became the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad soon after beginning operations in November of 1960. The Squad carries on the original mission by:
- Training and equipping members to respond to calls for assistance and provide basic and advanced life support care;
- maintaining specialized rescue teams to provide vehicle extrication, water rescue, and technical rescue;
- providing technical rescue training classes to local EMS agencies;
- providing logistical support for the fire departments when needed.
The Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad is committed to responding to the challenging needs of our service area and being a recognized leader in innovative, cost effective, clinically sophisticated & scientifically based delivery of comprehensive emergency medical & rescue services.