HISTORY OF BRUNSWICK VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE & RESCUE COMPANY INC
The Brunswick Volunteer Ambulance and Rescue Company was formed when a phone call was received on January 6, 1958, from a member of the Maryland Wing Headquarters Civil Air Patrol (CAP), that an ambulance was for sale at Middle River (MD) Ambulance and Rescue Association. It was a 1946 Cadillac ambulance "in running condition" which was being replaced by the Middle River Association.
The Brunswick Squadron of the CAP was contacted because of its interest in starting a ground rescue unit. The matter was discussed at the CAP meeting and the squadron commander, Capt. Bernard Williams, was designated to meet with Mayor James Cummings and the town council on January 10, 1958, to see of the town would help to purchase this ambulance. A request for $100.00 was submitted and the money was received.
A meeting to organize the Brunswick Volunteer Ambulance Company Inc., was held January 24, at which time it adopted this name.
Due to the condition of the ambulance they purchased, a second 1946 ambulance was found in Martinsburg, WV, and was purchased for $100.00 to be used to repair the first vehicle.
The first ambulance was placed into service on April 28, 1958, and the first trip was for a broken arm on May 6, 1958; the second on May 8 for a possible heart attack.
On May 20, the fourth trip was to Jefferson where it handled an air disaster when a Maryland Air National Guard trainer collided with a Capital Airlines passenger plane en route to Friendship Airport, Baltimore. The pilot of the Air National Guard plane was the only survivor in the crash. This was less than 30 days after the formation of the ambulance company.
The need for a second ambulance became apparent, and in September 1958, a 1950 Cadillac ambulance was purchased.
The ambulances were dispatched from Care's Service Station in the beginning and later from a driveway in back of the Municipal Building and then from a two-car garage owned by the Grace Episcopal Church and donated for use by the Ambulance Company. The Company operated from this location until its present quarters were built in 1962 at 200 West Potomac Street, Brunswick.
During 1958, the company completed 82 trips between May 6 and December 31, and had traveled 2,733 miles. By this time, the Brunswick Ambulance Company was well on its way to becoming a vital service for the community and surrounding area.
The 1946 ambulance became unserviceable and no longer dependable. In January 1959, it was replaced with a 1956 one-patient Ford ambulance.
The ambulances became equipped with portable oxygen units in 1960. The Ladies Auxiliary was also formed in February, 1960, and has, in turn, become a vital adjunct to the Company.
In April 1961, the Company purchased a 1956 Cadillac to replace the 1950 ambulance which after three years of faithful service became unserviceable and had to be replaced.
The land at 200 West Potomac Street was purchased for the present building in 1961. The basement area, which is the first floor, was constructed and the building was dedicated on Saturday, February 26, 1962 at 2:00 PM. Representatives of local government, fraternal organizations, doctors and many other prominent persons were present for the occasion. This meant that the Brunswick Volunteer Ambulance now had a permanent home.
The decision to complete the upstairs portion of the building was made in August 1962 and was completed in October 1962. This was the year the ambulance company started holding carnivals as well as Christmas tree sales as a way of raising funds for the organization.
The 1956 Ford ambulance was damaged while parked beside the building and was replaced with the purchase of a 1961 Cadillac ambulance in March 1964 . The damage to the 1956 ambulance was too extensive to be repaired and the age of the ambulance made it unfeasible to repair.
Two Robertson orthopedic stretchers were purchased by the Company in October 1964 to be used on the ambulances. These stretchers were useful in picking up patients wherever they were found thus eliminating further injury.
There were two Motorola MoTrac radios purchased by the Company in October 1964 for use on the ambulance as a method of communications while running. These radios were used in conjunction with the system of Frederick City Police dispatcher and the Frederick County Volunteer Firemen’s Association. The ambulances were dispatched by telephone until they joined Central Alarm in Frederick.
The first new ambulance was purchased in September 1966 and replaced the 1956 Cadillac which had seen its day. One of the big fund raisers toward the purchase of its piece of equipment was a "Mile of Dollars" campaign that collected approximately $2,500.
In 1969, Brunswick Ambulance Company No. 19 joined the Frederick County Central Alarm and has been dispatched by Central since April of that year. A 1969 Cadillac ambulance was purchased in October 1969 and replaced the 1961 Cadillac.
In 1971, the company placed in service a 1971 GMC Rescue Truck and boat for river rescues with 15 men completing the rescue course at the University of Maryland in October 1971.
In 1972 the State started to teach the Emergency Medical Technician - Ambulance course, at the time this was an 80 hour course. This taught ambulance personal how to treat injured persons, and to treat medical emergencies.
In January of 1973, the Company took part in the Presidential Inauguration Parade in Washington, D.C.
In September 1974, the Brunswick Ambulance Company purchased a third vehicle - a 1974 Cadillac, and on November 2, 1974, the second boat was placed into service which was donated by the Samuel Brengle family of Ijamsville.
In 1975, the land beside our building became available and a decision was made to purchase this for future expansion.
In November 1977, a Chevy / Horton 400 was purchased to replace the 1969 Cadillac.
In 1978 the State supplied our Ambulances with special radios to talk with the doctors in the Hospital Emergency Rooms, anywhere in the state.
In 1979 the company replaced the 1972 Cadillac with a Ford/Wheel Coach ambulance.
In 1981, our Company competed with other companies in the county to represent the county, at the State E.M.S. Olympics which we won on our first time in competition.
In 1982, we again went to the State E.M.S. Olympics. In both of these competitions, we placed within the top 10 of the state.
In 1981, our company had 20 of its personnel take I.V. therapy training provided by the county. Several of our people took mountain rescue training from the National Park Service in Harpers Ferry, WV. This was needed due to the high number of calls we were receiving for Maryland Heights.
In 1982, the county Medic Unit program started and we had several of our personnel take training and participate in this county wide program. This extra training consisted of an additional 160 hours of training.
In 1983 and 1984 the company also participated in the B.W.I. Airport disaster drills.
In 1985 we placed an order for an ambulance to replace the 1979 Ford / Wheel Coach. Our company was able to pay cash for that vehicle. Once we received the first unit we ordered a second to replace the 1976 Chevy / Horton. To give a true test of vehicles, we ordered one as a diesel and the other as a regular gasoline driven unit. The diesel ambulance was the first like this in Frederick County. At this time we also updated our radio communications by purchasing radio units with Frederick County, Loudoun County, and Washington County frequencies. This year we looked at purchasing a “Jaws of Life” type unit. After testing several brands it was determined to purchase the Amkus Rescue Tools and place these on our Squad.
In 1986, the 1974 Cadillac ambulance became unserviceable and had to be placed out of service. Due to the size of the ambulance building, at that time, it could not be replaced with a modern ambulance.
In 1987, the Company formed a committee to spec out a new squad truck and to recommend a place for housing the unit. It was decided to build an addition onto our present building, and to order a Ford / Emergency One Medium Duty Squad Truck. The building and squad were placed in service in 1989. The 1972 GMC vehicle was kept in service to pull our boats for river rescues and assist with its 4 wheel drive capabilities.
During the blizzards of 1972 and 1983, the 1972 GMC truck was used to evacuate motorists stranded on U.S. 340 and then to return them to their cars when the roads were cleared. The boats have been used numerous times to recover drowned victims, persons involved in boating accidents and for rescues of individuals marooned on the river.
In 1989, the State required that our personal take HazMat training, this covers Awareness and Operations. This training takes a total of 70 hours. Also this year our Company co-hosted a disaster exercise with the railroad on Hazardous Materials.
In 1990, our company participated with Charles Town, WV, on a mock school bus accident.
In 1991 our company took additional training in fire and rescue at our building. This amounted to over 110 hours of training per person. This training included working in and monitoring confined spaces, overland repelling, aircraft emergencies, bus emergencies, passenger train emergencies and tractor/trailer rescues.
In 1991 the 1972 GMC vehicle underwent an extensive overhaul with a new body mounted on the unit and new wiring, painting and lettering being done by our own company members. This unit was equipped as a special unit to respond to injured persons when both the regular ambulances are on calls. This year we purchased a 1991 Ford / Horton ambulance to replace the gas driven ambulance purchased in 1985. Another item that happened this year was the start of the E.M.T.-Defibrillation program. This program allows our members to give an electrical shock to people in cardiac arrest without having to wait for the Medic unit from Frederick. Our company was one of three in the county for this test program because of this reason. Our company received one Automatic Defibrillation unit from the county to share on our equipment.
In 1994 our company purchased a new Ford / Horton Ambulance to replace the other 1986 unit.
In 1996 our company purchased another Ford / Horton Ambulance to bring the total number of Ambulances back to 3. This was due to the increased amount of Ambulance calls. This year we finished the remodeling by installing a new floor in the Equipment Room and Meeting Room. There was a Ladies Bunk Room built in the Squad Room. Our company purchased a second Automatic Defibrillation this year.
In 1997 all of our operational personnel had their EMT certifications upgraded to the new EMT-B level. This year the company changed its name to Brunswick Volunteer Ambulance and Rescue Inc.
In 1998 The company needed to upgrade the Rescue Boats. The older unit was determined to be too small for use in rapid water, and there was a more of a need for a second boat for this type of use. We had a custom boat built for us in Pennsylvania . This unit replaced the donated boat that was put in service in 1974. The Other boat received an upgrade with a new motor and controls. This year we also purchased a new Ford / Horton 583 Ambulance to replace the 1991 unit. This year we purchased 2 Pulse-oxygen sensors that are used for patient care to assist in monitoring the Oxygen concentration in a patient.
In 1999 the company reevaluated itself, equipment and operations. One of the decisions made was to upgrade to the larger truck chassis ambulances, even though it meant having to use the alley-way for response of that unit. Another problem that came with the reevaluation, was the lack of daytime personnel. We needed to ask the County for staffing of career personal, for the daytime hours. Another problem that happened this year is that the 1972 Utility Truck lost its engine. Due to its age and usage, it was decided to replace this unit, with a new Ford Expedition 4 door unit.
In 2000 our company ordered a new International / Horton Ambulance, but did not take delivery until the spring of 2001.
In 2001 our company continued with what was decided in the reevaluation with upgrades to more modern Self-contained Breathing apparatus for the Squad, Changing and adding equipment to the Squad. Purchasing a third AED for the Ambulances. Finish purchasing Pulse-oxygen sensor for all 3 Ambulances.
In 2002 our company ordered a Ford / Horton 583 Unit to replace the 1996 unit. This unit was placed into service in July of 2003. Our company received a gift from Eastalco Aluminum Company in the way of a used 4 wheel drive pickup. This unit was painted in our color scheme and placed in-service to pull our second boat. This unit went in service in July of 2003.
In 2004 the company received a grant from Dept. of Natural Resources to replace the older boat. After much debate it was decided to order a Achilles Inflatable Boat with a 40 HP Jet motor. This unit was placed into service in the middle of the year. This year we also did major changes to the building. The area where the ambulances are parked upstairs had its roof raised by 4 feet and a single 20’ wide door installed.
2005 was a busy year for the ambulance company. Activities including applying for the a Fire Act Grant. This may not sound like a lot however this was the first year that non-fire company run ambulance companies could even apply for grant funds. (note this grant had been in place for 4 years). Our goal was to raise enough money to replace the Squad Truck. The estimated cost of this was in the $250,000.00 range. Unfortunately we did not receive the grant. This year we also ordered another Ford / Horton 583 Unit to replace the 1998 unit. (we were lucky that we did decide to replace this unit at the time we did, because the unit had its transmission go out of it. The cost to replace it was $4000.00. The trade-in value of the old unit was only $6000.) In the spring the building was struck by lighting and did excessive damage to the computer systems, as well as the siren, in-house phone, alarm system and electric door locks. Because of the age of the existing siren we could not get parts to have it repaired. A new siren vender was contacted about a replacement. This unit was ordered. Because the company’s insurance is picked up by the county, the department of homeland security reviewed our siren system and approached the town about installing several other of these voice /over sirens to be able to notify the citizens in event of a disaster in the town. Due to the decreasing number of volunteers we started a recruiting drive this brought us 12 new members. We were able to request an EMT-B Course that was held in Brunswick for these new members. This class started in the spring of 2006. In the spring our company hosted a Swift Water Rescue class where 6 of our members completed the course. Due to the weight issue with the 40 HP Motor on the inflatable boat. It was decided this motor would be changed to a 20 HP prop driven motor. This will allow us more flexibility where we can use and put the boat into the water. In the fall our company participated in the county sponsored Hazmat Drill at the Railroad Yard. This drill consisted of a railcar leaking acid with the cloud drifting over the city.
In 2006 we hit the ground running. We had 8 of our new members in the EMT-B Class. 6 members took the EMT refresher class. We took delivery of our new Ambulance on March 14 it was put into service on April 7. The old Ambulance 199 was donated to a fire company in Louisiana that lost everything in hurricane Katrina. We continued with our recruiting effects this brought in another 5 people. We applied for another EMT-B Class, EVOC Training, PEAF Training and Hazmat for the fall. We also requested a Rescue / Farm Machinery Class to start in the spring of 2007. We again applied for Firefighter Grant Assistance funds. This request was for protective EMS type of equipment. Enough equipment was requested to outfit all 50 members of the company. We were approached by the developers of the Brunswick Crossing PUD about land for the company to build on. This land was the land the fire company owned but was traded to the developer in exchange for another site. One of the problems with the property that was offered to us is that it sits in both Brunswick and Rosemont. In order for the site to get built, Rosemont had to de-annex their portion and Brunswick would need to annex it into their city.
In 2007 we were awarded our request for Personal Protective Equipment from Firefighter Grant Assistance Fund. We were able to purchase 43 complete sets of EMS / Rescue PPE. Each active member received their own set. We also applied to Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP) for a Bullard T3Max Thermal Imagining Camera. This was awarded to us as well. Late in the year we decided to replace Ambulance 198, the large International / Horton, a year earlier than planned and to look into replacing our 19 year old Rescue Squad. We ordered a new 2008 Ford F-450 4 wheel drive / Horton 583. Total cost of this unit $165,000.00. Due to cost issues we did not order a replacement Rescue Squad. The cost was $430,000.00 to replace this unit. We applied to the Fire Act Grant for Exhaust Extractors for our building.
In 2008 we took delivery of a new Ford / Horton 4 wheel drive unit in April. We were awarded the Exhaust Extractors from the Fire Act Grant and had them installed in the 3 apparatus bays. Due to problems operating Boat 19-2 in the Potomac River, the company decided to sell this boat and not replace it. This unit was sold to a company in Pennsylvania. We again applied to the Fire Act Grant for AutoPulse (automatic CPR Units) for the 3 Ambulances. The company took part with the county in coming up with new Water Rescue Standards for Training and Equipment. We assisted with the Frederick Marathon and Frederick County Fair, by providing equipment and personnel. The company decided to move forward with replacing our Rescue Squad. A new Spartan / Marion Heavy Rescue was ordered in September at a cost of $420,000.00. We also installed new High Band Radios in the 3 Ambulance & Rescue Squad. These will be used when running Mutual Aid into other counties and as an emergency back-up if the county’s 800 Radio System goes down. The company applied for and received a grant from Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Service Systems Highway Funds to purchase the “Beast Tool” manufactured by Champion. This unit was needed for our Rescue Squad to cut through the new tougher metals used in motor vehicles.
The new Rescue Squad arrived in May of 2009. After getting personnel familiar with driving the unit and obtaining the proper licensing. The equipment was transferred and placed into service in September. The old Rescue Squad was purchased by South Ward Vol. Fire Co. from Tamaque PA. 2009 our personnel took the State Swift Water Rescue Class for the Water Rescue Work. The County established new requirements for Water Rescue work and equipment was purchased to equip our Support Unit with the required equipment. In 2009 our company provided a ambulance and crew to assist with the Presidential Inauguration. Our Chief was the Frederick County EMS Task Force Leader for this event. Frederick County Task Force consisted of 6 Ambulances form the different companies through-out the county.
In 2010 we had several large snow storms in February which isolated our part of the county. A decision was made to purchase a new Support Unit that would have a snow plow and be a crew cab to carry personnel. In July we took delivery of a 2011 Ford F-350 SRW 4WD Crew Cab pickup. The company had the unit painted to the company colors, installed a cap, automatic folding side steps, 2 full length roll out trays. The equipment was transferred from the old Support Unit to the new unit and placed into service February of 2011. The old Support Unit became an Officers Car.
In 2011 we were awarded a grant to install AED units on all of our units. We also applied for and was awarded a grant from Homeland Security to install a new Fire Alarm System and Sprinkler Systems in our building. Because of small water mains going past our building we had to wait until 2012 to install the systems once the new mains were installed by the city. We also updated to where all of our units had the high band radios installed. Our company was able to meet with all participants that provide Water Rescue work on our part of the Potomac River as one group. Companies were able to exchange information about equipment and training. A regional plan was put into place where the different agencies and equipment would “stage” in the event of a water rescue event. There was also joint training put together with the 3 Boat companies so all could work together with the different equipment. In October of 2011 the Company placed an Order for a new Ford F-450 / Life Line Ambulance. This ambulance is of a new design put together by our company to fit the ever-changing needs and equipment that is carried. The delivery date is estimated in April of 2012.
At present our company operates 3 Ambulances, 1 Heavy Duty Squad Truck, 1 Rescue Boat, 2 Utility Vehicles and Chief’s Vehicle.
Our company is very unique in that it could have any type of emergency call. Within our first due response area, we have a major railroad (CSX), a major highway (U.S. 340), a major river (Potomac), agriculture land, the C&O Canal, the Appalachian Trail, Our company also responds actively in 3 states and 4 counties (Frederick and Washington Counties in Maryland, Loudoun County in Virginia and Jefferson County in West Virginia).
Station apparel order forms are available now. Click here to access the form. Please fill out the form, print and place it along with payment in Michele's mailbox.