Hopewell, VA. Formed in 1945, the Hopewell Emergency Crew, Inc, is a volunteer organization located within the historic, and industrious, City of Hopewell. The Hopewell Emergency Crew was formed from the ideas of several individuals who saw a need to create a separate rescue agency within the City of Hopewell. Starting out, they were known as the Southside Virginia Emergency Crew.
This was the first chartered crew in the Tri-Cities area. Southside Virginia Emergency Crew, located in Petersburg, Virginia, served not only citizens within Petersburg but also the City of Hopewell and the County of Prince George. As demand for service increased over the years, a small group of dedicated men saw the need to form a sub-station of the Southside Virginia Emergency Crew. This new sub-station was to be located in the City of Hopewell.
The idea was to better serve the City of Hopewell and the County of Prince George. After several years of being a sub-station, on October 15, 1949, the Bill of Sale to make the Hopewell Emergency Crew an independent organization was reviewed, and voted upon. On that day, the City of Hopewell, officially, gained the Hopewell Emergency Crew, Incorporated, an organization of volunteers rendering first aid and medical assistance to those in need.
As Hopewell’s primary EMS agency, they provide many resources as a public service. Their mission: “We will endeavor to always deliver the best emergency medical care centered on quality, competence and kindness in an effort to decrease illness and preserve the gift of human life.” The Hopewell Emergency Crew operates two 12 hour shifts 7 days a week. In addition, Hopewell EMS offers basic CPR training, free of charge, and a Summer Camp for children between the ages of 13-17. The Summer Camp consists of 4 days of training.
There are 42 members within the organization with different levels of certification. The organization provides both Basis Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Life Support (ALS). They are funded primarily through cost recovery, grants and donations. In addition, they receive limited funding from the United Way and 4 for Life through the state (DMV) for vehicles registered in the City of Hopewell.
The Hopewell Emergency Crew operates four Ambulances and one Quick Response Vehicle (QRV). There is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City concerning maintenance and upkeep of these vehicles. The average vehicle is approximately 10 years old. The Day Shift is the only paid shift with six employees contracted through a service. All other shifts are volunteers.
There have been major changes over the past 30 plus years according to Chief Mike Davis, who is a 36 year veteran of the Hopewell Emergency Crew. For example, equipment has become smaller and procedures have become more complex. Training requires more time due, largely, to the new procedures we are expected to execute in the field. The care being given to the patients has become better and more comprehensive verses the old days, when Hopewell Emergency Crew was more of a transport service. We are, now, expected to perform many of the procedures doctors and nurses implement in a hospital setting.
The future challenges for the Hopewell Emergency Crew are sustaining new members, recruiting volunteers and training. Basic emergency medical training requires over 150 hours; Emergency room training requires over 10 hours, “Advanced Life Support” requires between 300-800 hours depending on the level.
When asked what attracted him to this type of work, Chief Davis said, “It is a willingness to take care of your fellow man in need. Everyone has a basic desire to help others; whether they have been a recipient of medical care or a friend concerned about his neighbor. I have always had a desire to help. These people do not back away; it is what they do”. For additional information, please visit www.hopewellems.com