Shelburne Rescue was founded more than 25 years ago, and operated without an ambulance. Today the department is two ambulances and 40 volunteers strong. They answered 899 calls last year.
The volunteer service provides coverage 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A minimum of three Emergency Medical Technicians work each 12-hour shift, ready to respond to an emergency at any time.
Linda Goodrich, 65, of Shelburne is Chief of Shelburne Rescue. She supervises the volunteers. She’s looking for some new recruits and ambulance drivers. Alex Precourt, 19, of Shelburne started volunteering a few years ago with driving in mind. He’s taking a class at the University of Vermont, paid for by Shelburne Rescue, to learn how to be an EMT. The 120-hour lecture and lab class is offered in the fall and spring. “It’s basic medical legal stuff, and what you would perform as an EMT, and then you go through labs and practice what you would do on a real call,” Precourt said.
Precourt began volunteering because he wanted to drive an ambulance. He’ll have to wait until he’s 21 to do that, but for now he’s content to put in the time to help out his community. “I am learning,” he said with a smile. “But really it’s all about the flashing sirens.”
Goodrich said the number of volunteers from Shelburne are down to about a third. She would like to see more of her neighbors volunteer. “It’s good to help your community and it’s really fun,” she said. “There are a lot of sick people who really appreciate us.”
John Kelley, 78, of Shelburne is a rescue volunteer. “The more you give, the more you get back,” he said. “We cover seven decades of life, and people work here together as equals. The biggest single group is in their 20s. We come from all walks of life.”
Goodrich said 80 percent of the calls do not involve blood and guts. “It’s someone who called 911 and it’s their emergency, not ours. It could be anything from a broken finger to cardiac arrest, we are here to answer their emergency call.”
EMT Danielle Goodrich, 32, of Shelburne said, “It’s not as intimidating as you think and it’s worth it in the long run. It’s a great challenge and it’s great to support the community like this.”
A big part of Shelburne Rescue is backing up the Shelburne Fire Department. They are two separate entities. “They are a totally separate department,” Goodrich said. “We are the only department in town that does not get a penny from the tax payers. We have just purchased a brand new ambulance with our own money.”
Shelburne Rescue receives money from billing insurance companies for their calls. They also get paid by a subscription plan offered to community members who may not have insurance. And they depend on donations. Their operating budget is about $200,000.
To learn more about Shelburne Rescue there will be an open house held from 10 to noon at their headquarters at 154 Turtle Lane in Shelburne on Saturday, Nov. 7.