Founded in 1966 by a small group of dedicated volunteer EMT's in Brattleboro, Vermont, Rescue Inc. has evolved into a leader in the field of rural emergency medicine. Rescue was among the first EMS agencies in the nation to offer paramedic level care and now services 13 towns in southern Vermont and 2 in southern New Hampshire.
Prior to Rescue Inc., funeral homes and fire departments ran ambulance services. Following a federal study in the 1960s, emergency medical services were developed to help save highway lives. Rescue was initially built on ski patrol experience and was an all-volunteer group until the 1970s, when the agency developed full transport services.
EMT courses were offered in the 1970s with Rescue being among the first agencies in the state to offer that training. In the mid-1970s Rescue Inc. hired its first paid staff members, primarily to cover day shifts. With an increasing need for emergency medical services, Rescue initially established its headquarters on High Street in Brattleboro, Vermont. With EMS need and its membership growing, the agency moved operations to its first Canal Street location, and then built the current headquarters in 1978.
In 1982 Rescue Inc. became an official Vermont paramedic unit, funded by federal money plus seed money donations. Paramedic training was offered through Rescue Inc. and Brattleboro Memorial Hospital between 1980 and 1987. Rescue expanded its paid shifts in the 1980s to include nights and weekends.
The 1990s brought many agency "firsts." Rescue had the first semi-automatic defibrillator unit in Vermont. Community outreach was established with CPR, First Aid, and other classes offered by our training center. Negotiated rates for services from insurance companies and the federal government began in the 1990s. Our Subscription Membership service started in 1994 and in 1995 we reported 2,000 call responses for the year. With the increasing call volume, the agency grew from three ambulances to four in Brattleboro.
The next decade saw de-escalating reimbursements from the government and insurance companies. In 2005, Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend, Vermont ended their ambulance service and Rescue took over that territory, creating the agency's Division II. A multi-year community outreach grant form the Holt Foundation allowed the agency to develop training for its outlying communities. During that two-year period, Rescue trained more than 2,000 members of the public in basic response knowledge such as CPR and First Aid.
Since 1975, the agency has been incorporated as a 501 (c)3 not for profit organization under the United States tax code. Currently, Rescue's staff of active EMT providers has grown to more than 50 paid staff and volunteers. In 2012, six staff members were honored for their long-term commitment to the organization with more than 120 years of combined service at Rescue Inc. We currently provide emergency medical services to 15 area towns and our territory covers more than 500 square miles. Rescue Inc. also provides local and long distance emergency and non-emergency transfers along with community CPR and First Aid classes and EMT courses. The agency looks forward to many more years of providing emergency medical services to the Southern Vermont and Southern New Hampshire area.