The idea for the Flying Squad began in December of 2016. The Flying Squad's mission is to provide on scene rehabilitative services to area first responders that include hydration, nutrition, core temperature stabilization, decontamination from cancer causing agents and relief from climatic conditions. In conjunction with the RFD Foundation, a local 501 3 c organization, Richmond Professional Firefighters Association Local 995, we agreed to pursue this concept by utilizing a donated vehicle and securing equipment for this task.
Our initial members were all retired or active firefighters. Who better to understand what firefighters endure on a daily basis than a firefighter themselves. Someone who has walked in their boots. The Metro Richmond Flying Squad, with 20 original volunteers was placed in service on May 1st, 2017. Since the groups inception, our membership has grown to 30 volunteers and we have provided services at 30 incidents. Often, in addition to providing services to firefighters, the Flying Squad is asked to provide services to displaced residents until additional resources can be made available to the displaced citizens of the City of Richmond.
At a recent incident in January during sub zero wind chills at 2 am, the Flying Squad provided services to firefighters along with two displaced citizens and their two dogs by providing warm beverages, snacks, blankets and spare socks. The two citizens had to flee their home that was on fire dressed in only shorts and flip flops into snow covered streets in sub zero wind chills. Flying Squad members provided a heated area inside our vehicle for both the citizens and their pets to await further resources.
Our vision, with proper funding and staffing, is to expand our coverage area into neighboring counties. The Flying Squad is not supported by tax dollars and is 100% funded by donations and professionally operated by an all-volunteer staff.