VB Rescue Volunteers: The Strength of Our EMS System

Recognizing the City of Virginia Beach’s EMS volunteers during National Volunteer Month.

The City of Virginia Beach has a long tradition of volunteers providing pre-hospital lifesaving care to those in need. VB Rescue is a unique combined system of 10 individual volunteer rescue squads and the Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services Department. More than 500 volunteer and career VB Rescue members provide quality pre-hospital patient care, education and rescue services.  

EMS Chief Jason Stroud oversees the department in collaboration with all VB Volunteer Rescue Squads, comprising: Rescue 1 – Ocean Park, Rescue 2 – Davis Corner, Rescue 4 – Chesapeake Beach, Rescue 5 – Princess Anne Courthouse, Rescue 6 – Creeds, Rescue 9 – Kempsville, Rescue 13 – Blackwater, Rescue 14 – Virginia Beach, Rescue 16 – Plaza, Rescue 17 – Sandbridge.  

Virginia Beach Rescue Council and VB Rescue Squad Foundation are also key components of VB Rescue. Consider it the Virginia Beach EMS ecosystem.  

In honor of April as National Volunteer Month, we’re highlighting two members of VB Rescue EMS.

First Volunteer Deputy Chief

VB Rescue EMS Deputy Chief Ellen McBride has served as a member of the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad for more than 17 years. She worked her way up from a volunteer EMT with no prior medical background to being named the first volunteer deputy chief in 2023.  

McBride said she is honored to be the first to serve in that position and to be the voice of volunteers. When she isn’t fulfilling her volunteer duties, her full-time career is in marketing as a marketing communications director. She first caught the volunteer bug when she tagged along with her garden club that was donating to Rescue Squad 14. 

“We went down there and all the ladies [in the garden club] were standing with the captain at the time,” she said. “I just looked around and was like, ‘Wow, how do you do this?’” 

She learned about the City’s unique combined EMS system. She attended Basic Life Support (BLS) training, became an EMT and began her volunteer work with VB Rescue EMS. 

“I really fell in love with the people and what I was doing,” McBride said.  

“It’s a great strength of our system. Not only are volunteers learning valuable lifesaving skills — they are learning leadership, social skills and helping others in ways that may or may not have medical solutions.” 

VB Rescue EMS Deputy Chief Ellen McBride

From Volunteer to Career Paramedic to Captain 

VB EMS Capt. Amy Schulz started with the volunteer rescue system nine years ago after a nurse she used to work with told her she needed to do something and not “waste my brain,” she said. 

“I used to do circles around my peers as a caregiver, because I wasn’t challenged enough at the time,” Schulz said. “This nurse was a former EMT, and she said EMS/firefighting would be a good fit for me. After I got my EMT, I dove headfirst and began volunteering while I sought my paramedic [certification].” 

In October 2022, Schulz was hired by VB EMS as a paramedic, and in 2023 she was promoted to captain. 

“Being in EMS means being dynamic,” she said.  “I’ve had multiple opportunities to experience rural and urban EMS, private sector, and even occupational as a paramedic.” 

Schulz said the community of people she gets to work with is why she continues to serve with VB Rescue EMS. 

“That is what keeps me coming back every day, while I get to serve my neighbors,” she said.

“I have said before that I finally found ‘my people’ with VB EMS, and not many get to say that if you ask how they like their job. This field of work is challenging, always changing, but has its rewards working with my peers and the difference I can make with them.” 

VB EMS Capt. Amy Schulz