Nottoway County Emergency Squad, Inc.

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Nottoway County Emergency Squad | History

The Emergency Squad was first organized in 1953 with 12 members. It was formed when some of the charter members, on their way to a Firemen's Convention, witnessed a terrible automobile accident. Victims were thrown upon the highway. The victims did not receive first aid or transportation for at least two hours after the accident because no one nearby was qualified to handle such an emergency. The individuals returned to Crewe with the grim picture still in their minds and decided to form an Emergency Squad to render assistance and proper aid to the sick and injured. When the squad was formed, the closest neighboring squads were, Petersburg to the East, Chesterfield to the North, Lynchburg to the West, and North Carolina to the South.

 These men went to the Town of Crewe to seek aid in their new idea. The Town of Crewe gave them a loan with which to start the squad. The men took this money and purchased a 1946 Cadillac ambulance. They also purchased supplies and uniforms. In the latter part of 1953 and the early part of 1954, the Emergency Squad, Inc. held its first paper drive. The citizens of the County would save their newspapers and, once a month, the squad members would pick them up and take them to Richmond for recycling. This allowed them to pay the Town of Crewe back. The next vehicle was a 1949 Cadillac which, in 1957, was sold to Amelia County to help them get a squad started. In 1958, the Squad purchased a 1958 Pontiac station wagon, and that started the use of the wagons. The next purchase was a 1961 FORD station wagon. It wasn't until the 1970's, that Nottoway purchased it's first ambulance unit as we know today.

At first formation, the squad was a part of the Crewe Fire Department. In the year 1955, the squad incorporated, and separated from the fire department to become what is known today as the Nottoway County Emergency Squad, Inc. Their first call was a run to Farmville Hospital for an OB patient. At this time, the squad wasn't officially open for business as the ambulance had not yet been lettered and had not been declared in-service. Nevertheless, those members took on that first call, which would set the parth for the squad from then until now.

 When the squad was first founded, one of the charter members, W. C. "Happy" Ragland and his wife Verdia, operated a fast food restaurant in the county known as the Dairy Freeze. It was at this restaurant that the emergency phone calls were received. At night, Southside Electric would receive the emergency calls and dispatch a crew. After approximately one year, Southside Electric received the day and night calls. That practice continued until the Town of Crewe took on the task of receiving and dispatching the calls around 1981. The town dispatched calls for around 5 - 6 years until the Nottoway Sheriff's Office began central dispatching in 1988. It was then that the fire and rescue calls were received and dispatched through the Nottoway Sheriff's Office. A practice that continues to this day.

The first building to be called home for the squad was a single story facility on Route 460 near the intersection of Carter Street. Today, that building is the home of Jack and Joe's Antiques.

The women of the squad, previously only on the Ladies Auxiliary, began running emergency calls in 1975. They ran as auxiliary members until 1976, when they began joining as full fledged squad members.

Around 1960, the squad averaged around 300 calls per year. Today, the squad runs an average of 1500 calls per year with some members running over 200 a piece.

The main squad house in Crewe was constructed in 1973 and is located at the intersection of Route 460 and Second Street. In 1986, Hugh Berkley felt that response time could be reduced if an ambulance was kept in the town of Blackstone. He and twenty other squad members attented a meeting with the Town Council to request assistance with furnishing a building to serve as a substation to the main squad house in Crewe. With a grant from Levi's Corporation in Blackstone, the Town purchased an old Amoco bulk station at the corner of Third Street and Lunenburg Avenue. In 1988, after some renovations, Nottoway was finally able to dispatch an ambulance from this substation in Blackstone.

 

The following is a list of Charter members:

 

  • C. V. Willis
  • L. P. Skinner
  • S. W. Covington
  • Leo Smith
  • W. C. "Happy" Ragland
  • Bob Jones
  • Elwin Moore
  • W. C. Redman
  • R. C. Redman
  • W. T. Whitmore
  • C. B. Oakes
  • Thomas Totty
  • Jimmy W. Chappell