FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)
What are the minimum requirements to volunteer?
You must be at least 16 years of age and have a strong interest in pre-hospital patient care. You must submit to and pass both a Virginia State Police background check and FBI National background check and be of good moral character. This includes never having been convicted of a felony involving, but not limited to: assault, sexual battery or rape, robbery, burglery, or murder. You must also be willing to attend a local EMT class and achieve EMT certification within 6 months of joining and be able to meet the time commitment.
Do you get paid?
No, you volunteer your time to give back to your community with no monitary compensation. However, as a member of CSRS you are eligible to participate in Roanoke County's Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) where you could be rewarded $500 a year. This is done by accumilating a certain number of points per year which are earned based on the number of hours you volunteer and the training and certifications completed.
What does the crew do while waiting for a call?
The crews use their downtime to train and run scenerios, perform station chores, and complete inventory and checkoffs off all the trucks and equipment. When those are complete, the crew can be found doing anything from just hanging out watching TV together, playing basketball or pingpong, working out in or gym, or studying.
I have no training. Can I still be a volunteer?
Absolutely! Periodically throughout the year we accept applications from non-certified individuals. We hold a spring EMT class each year or can assist you in finding an EMT class in the area.
Do I have to purchase my own gear?
You are issued a crew uniform and sent to a local uniform supply store to select a pair of EMS pants. You must purchase your own boots. The Logistics Lt. can assist you in selecting a pair. You will also be assigned a set of turnout gear.
I want to pursue a career in EMS or in the medical field. Does volunteering help me?
Becoming a volunteer EMT is a great way to gain experience before starting a career in medicine. Familiarizing yourself with the "lingo" of the field, getting experience working with patients and other healthcare professionals, and learning how to stay calm under pressure are just a few reason.
Do I have to sleep at the station?
If you are Senior, Academic, or Junior member you will be assigned to a duty crew that operates over night. This will require you to sleep at the station. We have seperate male and female bunk rooms with very comfortable beds and linens along with seperate shower facilties.
I'm a local college student. How does volunteering affect my school work?
Almost half of our current membership are full-time college students or former students when they joined. It can seem demanding on your schedule however we consider it no more then the average person who has a "nine-to-five" and family at home.
I am a highschool student. Can I volunteer?
Yes, we offer a Junior Membership for those 16 or 17 years of age. Volunteering in EMS for Junior members provides an immense amount of growth opportunities and experience. It takes a very special and mature individual to perform the same tasks and meet the same expectations as adults in EMS. That includes going on calls and assisting in patient care.
What is the incentive to taking a class, running all those hours, putting your life in danger, and completing all the training if you don't get paid for it?
The benifits are worth more than money. Serving your community, making a difference, making a lifelong impact on the lives of people, building long lasting relationships, brotherhood, and memories with the people you serve with. The crew becomes a second family. Be a part of something big, bigger then yourself. And going home knowing you saved someones life is an awesome feeling. Just ask a current member.
It all seems like a big responsability.
It is and we take our responsibility very serious. After all, we're responding to our friends, our neighbors, sometimes our own family and loved ones. We may be volunteers but we consider ourselves professionals.
Can I see what it's like without making a commitment to join?
Absolutely! Our Citizen Observer Program allows you to ride with our crew on the ambulance to every call with no commitment to join. You'll enter patients houses, see the crew performing patient assessments and treatments, ride with the patient in the ambulance to the hospital and go inside the emergency room. You may even see someone cut out of a car or respond to a house fire. This gives you a great first hand experience of what volunteering is like and typically what our crews face while performing their duties. You just have to pass a simple background check.
Click here for more information or to fill out the form.
I'm a little squeamish with blood or sensitive to smells. Will that be a problem?
Given the nature of the job, a tolerance to blood, smells, and often unpleasant unsightly things is required. It can be a dirty job but we love every minute of it.
We recommend signing up for our Citizen Observer Program to give you a non-commital chance to experience and observer first hand what our crews face on a daily basis.
What membership options do you have?
We currently offer four membership categories. They are briefly summerized as follows:
Can I volunteer if I don't live in Cave Spring, the general area, or in Roanoke County?
Yes as long as you are able to meet the time commitment.
I've had numerous speeding tickets. Will that prevent me from passing my background checks?
No, your average speeding ticket will not prevent you from passing your background checks or becoming a volunteer.
Can I volunteer to just drive the trucks and not become an EMT?
We do not currently offer a driver only membership.
Do our tax dollars go to fund you?
A small portion of Roanoke County's General Fund is granted to CSRS to assist with operational expenses. This contribution covers less then 5% of our operating budget.
Are you a part of Roanoke County Fire & Rescue?
Cave Spring Rescue Squad operates as an independant agency under the umbrella and operational license of Roanoke County Fire & Rescue.
I want to thank the crew for their service. How can I do that?
Our crews spend many long hours training, taking classes, and running duty hours with no financial compensation. Hearing from our community that we've done a good job validates our hard work and motivates us to continue that work.
My church is having a special event. Could you bring an ambulance or truck to display and let kids see?
We love spending time with the community and sharing the work that we do. We frequently participate in special events at community centers, churches, and schools in which we will put our apparatus on display, give demonstrations, and let children see the inside.
Do you provide EMS services for concerts, sporting events, or large community gatherings?
Yes, we can provide EMS standby coverage at both the BLS and ALS level.
Who is in charge during a call?
The person responsible for patient care and everything that goes on during a call is the AIC (Attendant In Charge). These are specially trained individuals who go through a rigorus vetting process that exceeds their basic training to ensure top quality patient care.
How can I be sure that the care I receive from a volunteer is the same quality I would receive from someone who is paid?
The certifcation classes that career (paid) EMS providers attend are the exact same classes all of our volunteers attend. The certifcations and training are the same. In fact, we pride ourselves at not only meeting the same standards but exceeding them. This includes having the very best in equipment and supplies. We are able to exceed and go above and beyond these standards because we are not constrained by many of the budgetary challenges a paid department might have and because our culture strives to be the best. We are, after all, responding to our neighbors.
Is it really possible that a 16 year old may assist in my treatment or care?
In the state of Virginia, someone as young as 16 may join a rescue squad, attend class and become certified as an EMT, and participate in patient care. These are our Junior Members.
Sometimes my loved one falls and just needs help getting up. Can I call you to help me lift them?
Absolutely. We call it an E-Service call. We are happy to provide lift assistance to unijured members of the community day or night. You need not worry about being a bother or inconviencing us. This is what we're here for.
What can I do to prepare should I ever need to call for an ambulance?
Here are a few tips that will help us when we come to help you:
Keep house numbers clearly lit and visible from the street and trim back low hanging trees that may impede the ambulance from backing into your driveway.
Flash the porch light when you see or hear us approaching or send someone out to the road to flag us down. Be careful not to enter into the roadway.
Put up all pets in a seperate room and if able, clear a path of any furniture, children's toys, or debris that may impede our ability to get our stretcher to the patient.
Have a copy of a list of all current medications the patient is currently taking that we can take with us to the hospital. (We recommend filling out our Patient Information Form to give to the crew upon their arrival. Click here to download it.)
I have an EMT certification from another state. Will it transfer into Virginia?
The Virginia Office of EMS requires that you hold a Virginia certification to practice as an EMT in Virginia. There are several ways you can obtain reciprocity in Virginia if you hold a certification in another state.
I'd like to become an EMT. How do I get started?
While not a requirement to take our class and become an EMT, the best way to begin is by applying for membership.
When is the next time you are holding your EMT class?
We regularly hold our EMT class each Spring that starts in January and goes through May. Occasionally we do offer a Fall EMT class.
Can I give the crew that comes to my house a cash donation or tip?
We greatlly appreciate your genorisity and financial support.
How do I obtain a record of my giving for tax purposes?
We generally do not send out receipts for donations we've received. We've found that your cancelled check that you can retain for your bank serves the purpose as record of your donation for tax purposes.
When is your next Chicken BBQ?
Our famous Chicken BBQ fundraisers are held twice a year. Weather permitting, they are typically the first Saturday in October and May.