We are always looking for new volunteers!
Thank you for considering applying to volunteer with the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad (CARS). For your reference and convenience, a checklist of information, including application deadlines, procedures, and requirements is below. First, we would like to provide you information about our agency and the different ways you can get involved. There are two primary types of volunteers at CARS: active members that provide patient care and rescue services and associate-support members who do not provide patient care but instead provide important logistical and administrative support.
Volunteering as an EMS provider with the CARS is probably very different from any volunteering you have ever done. Volunteering as a patient care provider takes a significant amount of time, requires uncommon dedication, and can involve significant emotional stress. We urge you to consider your application very carefully.
Our behind-the-scenes administrative, fundraising, and support volunteers are key to furthering our crucial mission. The hard work of these individuals brings in needed funding, operates a busy administrative office, and supports the logistical needs of a complex organization. Volunteering opportunities for support members can be tailored to your interests, abilities, and schedule. We recommend that you include a visit to our station and a ride-along as part of your consideration in joining CARS. We encourage you to meet our members, look at our medical and rescue equipment, and explore our fleet and facility. You can learn about the history and present operations of CARS online at www.carsrescue.org.
The training process to become a released EMT (be able to act independently in the back of the ambulance) takes 4-7 months for each new member of the agency. We ask for a 2-year commitment to ensure that the time invested in training members yields ample time for members to be able to aid in staffing at the agency. As such, an application submitted by students already in their 3rd or 4th year of college may be denied unless there is a compelling reason to believe they will stay in Charlottesville after college graduation to be able to meet the commitment.
- Minimum Virginia EMT Certification (valid EMT-Basic) — If not already certified, email firstname.lastname@example.org for a list of local certification classes
- Minimum 18 years of age
- Minimum 2 year commitment
- Run 12 hours per week, year round, including summers and holidays
- Attend monthly business meeting (2nd Thursday of each month at 19:00)
- Complete application including 3 references (2 of whom must be non-CARS members). Please turn in or mail in the application to CARS by 23:59 PM on the 15th of the month to be considered at the membership meeting. If accepted:
- Attend an orientation session at 6:00pm the Wednesday after the 15th of each month, unless those dates fall on a holiday; if so the date will change.
- Minimum 60 day observation (as non-member); if performance evaluations are satisfactory:
- 6 month probationary period; if performance evaluations are satisfactory:
- Full membership recommended.
Questions? Email email@example.com.
How to Apply
To be considered an applicant with CARS, all of the following will be needed for your application. Once you have gathered this information, email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the link to the application. It must be submitted by 2359 on the 15th of every month. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
- An email to email@example.com stating your intent to apply and a short paragraph about yourself and why you want to do EMS and join CARS (i.e. UVA student, volunteer firefighter, etc.)
- Contact information, including e-mail address and phone number, for 3 references. Use persons for reference that you have known at least one year. Do not use family members. You may use only one CARS member as a reference. Your references must respond by the end of the month.
- Photocopy of your driver’s license
- Copy of your CPR Certification
- Copy of Virginia EMT-B certification, if certified at time of submission
- Copy of Emergency Vehicle Operator’s Certification, if certified at time of submission
- Your schedule so you can request which shift you would like to join
Please do not apply if:
- You are not at least 18 years old
- You have not completed an Emergency Medical Technician course or are not currently enrolled in a local EMT course
- You are unable to meet the time commitment required of members.
- For active-medical membership, if you are unable to commit to two calendar years of active service
- You plan to be away for an extended period of time, especially during your first year of membership (i.e. long vacation, travel for work, study abroad)
You will receive and email about your application status on the 16th of the month. The applicant orientation will be the following Wednesday at 18:00.
Student Affiliate Program
Albemarle County Fire Rescue offers multiple EMT-B classes each year. The fee for those classes can be waived if you submit an application to CARS through the student affiliate program and commit to volunteering with us for 2 years of active service after becoming certified.
As a student affiliate, you will be able to complete ride alongs at CARS to get patient contacts and receive additional training at our agency. Upon completion of the EMT course, you will be given a crew assignment to begin active membership.
In order to apply to the student affiliate program, you must
• Request to do a ride along at CARS prior to taking the class in order to meet members and see if this is a good fit (see ‘Ride-Along Program’ to schedule)
• Be willing to commit at least 2 years of active service to CARS
• Be at least 18 years old
• Meet the requirements of whichever program you are applying to
Please reference the ‘How to Apply’ section for instructions on how to complete your application.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: What am I expected to do as a member?
A: You will be assigned to either a day or night crew, depending upon your availability. During your shift, you will be at the rescue squad house responding to medical emergencies in the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. We do not cancel shifts for inclement weather or holidays.
Q: Can I sleep there?
A: Yes. Dorm facilities and linen is provided, and you may sleep at nights in between calls.
Q: Besides answering calls what do I have to do?
A: During shift, you will check equipment readiness, do crew chores at the station, complete crew trainings, and interact with any community members who come to the building. Members must also attend monthly business meetings, perform 6 hours of standby service, and keep all certifications in date and valid.
Q: How is my performance evaluated?
A: As pre-probationary members, your performance is evaluated on your engagement in crew activities and your willingness to train. We expect observers to be fully involved in training and all other crew activities. As a probationary member, your performance will be evaluated on your clinical skills and patient interactions. As you gain more experience, we will give you more responsibility in patient care. We expect all collectors to be released as full Attendants in Charge within 5 months.
Q: When do I get paid?
A: NEVER – you are a volunteer. (Yes, we have had a couple people actually ask this after a few months).
Q: What do I wear?
A: During the 60 day observation period, you wear navy blue pants, a navy blue polo, and black boots (which you supply). Probationary and other members have uniforms provided by the Squad.
Q: Are their additional opportunities for training?
A: Yes; members have access to advanced life support classes and a variety of other medical and rescue oriented training. Almost all of this training is free, or at nominal charge.
Q: I am a nurse (or doctor, or respiratory therapist); do I have to be an EMT?
A: Yes, BUT — a process does exist which might allow you to either take a shorter course or challenge the state certification examination, at the Virginia Office of EMS’s discretion. You may consult the Thomas Jefferson EMS Council Office at 295-6146 or the Virginia Office of EMS at 1-800-523-6019 for further information.
Q. How do I become certified as an EMT?
A. Look here!
Q. Are there other squads?
A. Yes. There is one other volunteer rescue squads in Albemarle County – Western Albemarle Rescue Squad (Rescue 5) in Crozet. Rescue 5 was founded in the 1970’s. In 2001, Albemarle County Fire Rescue (ACFR) began staffing a medic unit 24/7 in the foothills of Monticello, the southeastern parts of the county (Station 11). In 2007, ACFR began staffing a medic unit serving the northern parts of the county and the greater Hollymead area (Station 12). Since then, ACFR has built a 24/7 substation at Seminole Trail (Station 8), a station in the Ivy neighborhood (Station 15), and substations at Pantops (Station 16) as well as Earlysville (Station 4). Before then CARS solely covered all those areas. CARS now covers those areas as 1st, 2nd, or 3rd due depending on staffing and call volume at those stations.
If you have any other questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Types of Membership
Active-Medical: Active-Medical members provide direct patient care and rescue services. They are required to serve a minimum of one duty shift, about twelve hours, per week on an assigned crew for a minimum of 2 years.
Associate-Medical: Applicants for Associate-Medical must be full/released members with another transport EMS agency. They are required to serve a minimum of twenty-four hours per month on any crew.
Associate-Driver: Applicants for Associate-Driver have no minimum requirement and will be trained and certified to operate emergency vehicles with an approved preceptor. This status is designed for personnel that are career or volunteer firefighters or police officers.
Associate-Support: Associate-Support members may apply for membership based on their area(s) of interest. Available types include special operations teams (technical, water, and vehicle rescue), practitioner (MD, RN, etc), and administrative (office support, fundraising, vehicle maintenance, station upkeep, logistics and supply). Support members will find many opportunities tailored to their interests, abilities, qualifications, and schedule. Members will fulfill the training and participation requirements of their specific area. They are required to participate as needed or required by their respective supervisor.
Functional Position Description
(Emergency Medical Technician)
Prepared by the Atlantic EMS Council
The Emergency Medical technician must demonstrate competency in handling emergencies utilizing basic life support equipment and skills in accordance with the objectives in the U. S. Department of Transportation National Standard Curriculum for EMT to include having the ability to:
- Verbally communicate in person, via telephone and telecommunications using the English language;
- Lift, carry and balance a minimum of 125 pounds equally distributed (250 pounds with assistance) a height of 33 inches, a distance of 10 feet;
- Read and comprehend written materials under stressful conditions;
- Document, physically in writing, patient information in prescribed format;
- Demonstrate manual dexterity and fine motor skills, with ability to perform all tasks related to quality patient care in a safe manner;
- Bend, stoop, crawl, and walk on uneven surfaces; and,
- Meet minimum vision requirements to operate a motor vehicle in the state.
DESCRIPTION OF TASKS
* Receives a dispatched call, verbally acknowledges the call, reads road maps, identifies the most expeditious route to the scene, and observes traffic ordinances and regulations.
* Upon arrival at scene, ensures that the vehicle is parked in a safe location. Safely performs size-up to determine scene safety including the presence of hazardous materials, mechanism of injury or illness, and the total number of patients. Performs triage and requests additional help as necessary.
* In the absence of public safety personnel takes safety precautions to protect the injured and those assisting in the care of the patient(s).
* Using body substance isolation techniques, protects the patient(s) and providers from possible contamination.
* Inspects for medical identification emblems, bracelets or cards that provide patient emergency medical care information.
* Determines nature and extent of illness or injury, checks respirations, auscultates breath sounds, takes pulses, auscultates/palpates blood pressure (including proper placement of the cuff), visually observes changes in skin color, establishes priority for emergency care. Based on assessment findings renders emergency care to adults, infants and children.
* Skills performed include, but are not limited to: establishing and maintaining an airway, ventilating patients, cardiac resuscitation, use of automated external defibrillators where applicable. In addition, provides prehospital emergency care of single and multiple system trauma such as controlling hemorrhage, bandaging wounds, treatment of shock (hypoperfusion), spinal immobilization and splinting of painful swollen or deformed extremities.
* Manages medical patients to include, but are not limited to: assisting with childbirth, management of respiratory, cardiac, diabetic, allergic, behavioral, and environmental emergencies and suspected poisonings.
* Performs interventions and assists patients with prescribed medications, including sublingual nitroglycerine, epinephrine auto-injectors, and metered dose aerosol inhalers observing safety measures for others and self.
* Responsible for administration of oxygen, oral glucose and activated charcoal.
* Reassures patients and bystanders by working in a confident, efficient manner.
* Functions in varied environmental conditions such as lighted or darkened work areas, extreme heat, cold and moisture.
* Performs in situations that create stress and tension on a regular basis.
* Where extrication is required, assesses extent of entrapment and provides all possible emergency care and protection to the patient. Uses recognized techniques and equipment for removing patients safely (to include proper strap placement). Communicates verbally for additional help as needed.
* Complies with regulations for the handling of crime scenes and prehospital deaths by notifying the appropriate authorities and arranging for the protection of property and evidence at the scene.
* Lifts and moves patients into the ambulance and assures that the patient and stretcher are secured; continues emergency medical care en-route in accordance with local protocols.
* Determines most appropriate facility for patient transport. Reports to the receiving facility the nature and extent of injuries, and the number of patients being transported.
* Observes patient en-route and administers care as directed by medical control or local protocol. Able to maneuver to all points in the patient compartment while transporting with a stretchered patient. Assists in lifting and carrying patient and appropriate equipment from ambulance and into receiving facility.
* Reports, verbally and in writing, observations and emergency care given to the patient at the scene and in transit to the receiving staff for record keeping and diagnostic purposes. Upon request, provides assistance to the receiving facility staff.
* Disposes of contaminated supplies in accordance with established guidelines, decontaminates vehicle interior, sends used supplies for sterilization.
* Maintains ambulance in operable condition which includes cleanliness, orderliness and restocking of equipment and supplies. Determines vehicle readiness by checking oil, gas, water in battery and radiator, and tire pressure.
* Checks all medical equipment for future readiness. Maintains familiarity with all specialized equipment.
* Attends continuing education and/or refresher training programs as required by EMS agency, medical direction, and/or certifying agency.
* Meets qualifications within the functional job analysis of the EMT.