LONDONDERRY VOLUNTEER RESCUE SQUAD
The Londonderry Volunteer Rescue Squad was formed in the fall of 1963, by a small group of local citizens. This group consisted of: Tony Lafko, William Cobb Sr., Charlie Pearson, Leroy Williams, Rex Doane, and Hugh Doane, which formed the Squad’s first board of directors. An ambulance service was needed for Londonderry and the surrounding towns as a result of three ski areas, Bromley Mountain and the opening of Stratton Mountain and Magic Mountain ski areas. The coverage area was 255 square miles and covered all or part of nine towns. LVRS became incorporated in April of 1964. The Squad’s first ambulance was a red 1953 Cadillac. Not having a Squad building, the ambulance was stored in Wayne Peck’s garage, the town shed, and finally in the South Londonderry’s Fire Station for many years.
The 1953 ambulance was replaced by a 1958 Chrysler Ambulance in December of 1966, which was purchased from the Metuchen, N.J. Rescue Squad for one dollar. The operating cost for the first six months of 1965 was $381.11. The Squad responded to 39 calls in 1965.
In 1969 a small piece of land on Rt. 100 in South Londonderry was purchased from Hazel Hunt for $300. A small two bay garage/squad building was built in the summer of 1970. In 1974 the Squad bought its first new ambulance, a 1974 Cadillac for $17,700. In January of 1975 it was voted that we must have an EMT on every call and IV fluids were carried in the ambulance. We still relied on telephones to contact team members for any calls. Our first radio base station and 6 pagers were purchased in April 1978, and we used Anne Jensen Answering Service to dispatch us for $30.00 a month.
In 1978 the first modular (box) ambulance was purchased, a 1978 Ford with a Horton box for $35,000. This ambulance could not fit in the Squad building because of its height, so the building was raised two feet. Because of the increase in runs (201 in 1978) we kept our older ambulance and started running both of them.
The late 70’s and early 80’s were a time of changes and advancement for LVRS. Many of our EMT’s were trained as IV Techs. We purchased our first heart monitor, a Lifepack 5 in 1982 and were trained in its use. We also purchased a new ambulance in October of 1982, a 1983 Ford with a Yankee box for $45,359. At the same time we purchased an extrication tool [Kinman Tool]. We trained in vehicle extrication and continue to do our own extrications.
In 1987 the Squad came into the electronic age. A new radio system was installed complete with a repeater for a cost of $15,000. A second Lifepack 5 was purchased for the second ambulance as well as a new IBM computer for $5,000. In September 1988 we purchased a new ambulance, a Frontline Street Warrior for $92,000. We started running three fully stocked ambulances until 1996, when we converted the Frontline ambulance into a Rescue Truck.
In 1986 we started looking for land on which to build a new Squad building, since we needed room for expansion. In July of 1988 we signed an agreement to purchase 8.9 acres of land from Rex Doane on Route 100 in Londonderry, which was purchased in June 1989. Committees for design, permits, fundraising, site-work, and donations were formed to build a new Squad Building. Town permits were completed and approved in June 1990. Site work on the land was started in October 1990 and we started building in the spring of 1991. We moved into the building Easter weekend of 1992. This building was paid for when we moved in at a cost of $244,785.00 cash and $127,784.34 in donated labor and materials for a total cost of $366,796.34.
LVRS became a Paramedic Licensed Squad in January 1991. We purchased a Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) Trailer in December 1992. We believe this was the first MCI trailer to be put into use in the State of Vermont.
In December of 1996 we formed the Rescue Department within LVRS. This is our current Londonderry Technical Rescue. It was formed to have its own officers and to be able to include area fire department members and members of the public with special skills. Members are trained in vehicle extrication, cold water rescue, swift water rescue, back country rescue, and low and high angle rope rescues. In 2002 we purchased a Freightliner FL60 (heavy duty rescue truck) which cost $188,792.00 that we use for rescues. It has a 25 KW PTO generator, winch, state of the art “Jaws” and extrication tools, scene lighting, electric reels, backcountry rescue equipment, cold water suits, life vests, low and high angle ropes and equipment, etc.
In reflection of over 50 years of service, many things have not changed. LVRS still has the same coverage area of 255 square miles, covering all or part of nine towns. We run about 500 calls a year with all volunteer members. We don’t and have never charged any of our patients for our transports and services. This is only made possible by the continued generosity and support of the communities and the residents that we serve.