A Letter to Towns in our Service Area

Lindsay O’Steen, President
November 19, 2021

Hardwick Rescue Squad (HRS) has been proudly serving our local communities for over 50 years. In 2020, despite a global pandemic, HRS ran 647 calls with over 700 calls for service. This year we have already exceeded this number and may well break 800 calls for service. To put this in perspective HRS ran 511 calls in 2017. The large majority of these calls are answered by volunteers. HRS employs two full time staff: one paramedic and one advanced EMT. These individuals represent approximately 4,160 hours of paid time. The volunteers of HRS give over 22,120 hours of time. This does not include coverage for second calls, training, community events, meetings, etc. HRS has seen critical staffing levels for over a year now despite numerous members who regularly volunteer more time per week than is covered by our full-time paid staff.

With rates of volunteerism falling nationally and consistent gaps in our schedule becoming the norm our main budgetary change this year is the addition of a third full time provider. During COVID-19 numerous volunteers retired from our roster out of concern for family or themselves. Despite that, HRS has stayed fully operational. Our staffing issues have persisted despite the membership working hard to recruit and train new volunteers. Our EMT class will end in January and hopefully add several EMTs to our service. It often takes an entire year to fully train a new provider as they must take an EMT course (150 hours) and then become competent on the ambulance and with our operations. Additionally, as most of us have seen in our everyday life the cost of nearly everything has risen. At HRS we too must pay more for gas, propane, supplies, and vehicles increasing almost every line item in our budget. We have also begun to exceed the limitations of our station, with COVID-19 highlighting issues with our training space and staff sleeping quarters. With many of our members traveling from outside the service area to work shifts, we are struggling to provide a safe, comfortable and welcoming place for them to spend the 12 to 24 hours they are on duty.

The dedicated members of HRS are committed to continuing to provide exceptional service to our service area. Our HRS members receive no monetary compensation for their time and despite this are willing to respond at any hour of the day or night to assist any individual in need. It is humbling to lead such a group of dedicated and passionate volunteers. I don’t think anyone can walk through a town these days and not see help wanted signs. With that in mind, consider the gravity of your neighbors consistently donating hundreds of hours of their time for free to help their fellow humans. I hope as members of the communities we serve you will continue to support the hard work of your friends and neighbors who choose to answer the call. I also hope you consider finding a way to give back no matter how small. HRS is always open and happy to train you if you would like to join our noble cause. We appreciate your continued support.

Hardwick Emergency Rescue Squad is a private, non-profit, primarily volunteer ambulance service in northern Vermont which services portions of Caledonia, Lamoille, Orleans, and Washington Counties. Hardwick Rescue responds to 9-1-1 calls in the following towns:

Hardwick, Wolcott, Stannard, Craftsbury, Greensboro, Wheelock, Walden, and Woodbury

First established in 1967, Hardwick Rescue provides Basic Life Support (BLS) and limited Advanced Life Support (ALS) service in our coverage area and has access to other advanced life support services when necessary.

Hardwick Rescue operates two fully-equipped ambulances staffed by nearly entirely volunteer crews. HRS depends upon community members interested in serving their rural Vermont neighbors in times of need.

If you are interested in joining Hardwick Rescue and already hold an EMT, AEMT, or Paramedic certification, please get in touch and complete an application.

Hardwick Emergency Rescue Squad, Inc.
PO Box 837
Hardwick, VT 05843
(802) 472-6343 — For Non-Emergencies Only!