Volunteer rescue-squad conference keeps skills fresh

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Virginia Beach EMS responds to an accident. (Courtesy vbems.com)
(Courtesy vbems.com)

Almost 1,000 volunteer rescue-squad members from across the state will convene in the city Tuesday to network and rack up continuing education credits.

The Virginia Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads is hosting its 82nd annual rescue-squad conference from Sept. 20-24 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, 1000 19th St. The conference will feature competitions, seminars on new lifesaving techniques, training classes and industry-related vendors. The event makes it convenient for rescue-squad volunteers to get recertified for skills such as vehicle rescue and awareness and serving as an emergency vehicle operator.

“Obviously, it’s a never-ending issue in our field, we’re always looking for continuing education [credits],” Bruce Nedelka, a public information officer and division chief for Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services, said in a phone interview.

The training classes are critically important, because they help keep skills fresh, he said.

Cyndi Bailey, an office assistant with the association, said the conference helps the squad volunteers who work regular day jobs and aren’t easily able to attend training courses.

About 20 vendors showcasing industry-related items, such as ambulance equipment and fire trucks, will be on hand. The association will also host competitions, giving squad volunteers a chance to display their knowledge of lifesaving skills and compete for trophies.