In 1963, 13 men comprised of Strasburg firemen and Jaycees saw a need for an ambulance in the community. At the time, the only thing Strasburg had was a Stover’s hearse equipped with oxygen and a few band aids. After a year of planning, Strasburg Volunteer Rescue Squad (SVRS) became operational with 36 members in October of 1964.
The Town of Strasburg told SVRS that they would give them the land to build a building if they could keep the rescue squad operating. The rescue squad lived up to their expectations. Through fundraising efforts and countless amounts of donations, SVRS was able to build their building in 1964. At the time, Frank Stover from Stover’s Funeral Home let SVRS use an old hearse and told them that if they could keep the squad operational for one year they could have it.
For a while SVRS used a few converted hearses and then they graduated to carry-alls. The first factory made ambulance that SVRS used was in 1970. The first box ambulance used was in 1972, costing less than $10,000 dollars.
When SVRS first originated there wasn’t a 911 system. People needing assistance would call 465-8123 if they had an emergency. There were phones located at Betty and Paul Sheetz’s house, Northern Virginia Daily, and at Holsinger’s Exxon. At those locations, they had the SVRS duty roster. When a call would come in, they would get in touch with the crew to let them know they had a call. Betty Sheetz knew everyone’s schedules and phone numbers by heart, though. This system was used up until the mid 1970s. From there, SVRS used pagers. A tone system was made and built in with Company 51. The Sheriff’s Office had a dispatching center that was used at first, but then SVRS started their own dispatching center at the Strasburg Police Department. At first, the dispatching center was manned entirely by volunteers that dispatched for Strasburg’s Police, Fire, and Rescue. Throughout the years, the town office crew manned the dispatching center during the day time and eventually it became paid staff 24/7.
In the 1960s and 1970s, it was considered busy to average 20 calls per month. Now, in 2007, it is considered a normal month to get around 130 calls.
Since 1963, the headquarters of SVRS has been remodeled and added on to on several occasions. At first, the building was one story, with one bay. Later on a second bay was added. After that, a second story was added. Then, the front half of the building was built. Finally, in the 1990s, the second half of the building was added on to what is presently looks like today.
Today, SVRS is operating with four ambulances, one squad, one mobile, and one mass casualty trailer. With our small town growing, we are receiving more calls each day. We love Strasburg, and we will continue to serve our community to the best of our ability