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History of the Storm Ambulance Corps
The Storm Ambulance Corps is an all volunteer non-profit group that provides medical services to the residents of Derby for no charge. They have existed since 1948. The Corps was formed when assistant fire chief Edward Cotter Jr. suggested that there was a need to improve emergency medical services in Derby. Assistant Chief Cotter was joined by Richard Riley, as a co-chairman of the ambulance corps. Although there were no funds available, the newly formed committee raised the money needed and purchased a Buick Superior Ambulance for the sum of $7,000.00 and the corps officially went into service the same night
In 1952 the Corps determined that there was a need for another vehicle to carry rescue equipment needed at motor vehicle accidents. A jeep was purchased and it became the predecessor of today's large rescue vehicles. In 1955 a rescue boat was added to the fleet of vehicles and soon after it was the only one of its kind in service in the Valley. During the 1955 floods this boat was used to rescue numerous residents of Derby and Ansonia
Over the years the Storm Ambulance Corps has been a pioneer in delivering emergency medical care and rescue services in the Valley. The volunteers of the Corps were the first to have two way radio contact with the Griffin Hospital and the first to have certified Emergency Medical Technicians.
There have been many other memorable firsts for the ambulance corps, it was the first to use HARE traction splints for fractured legs, the first to use defibrillators, the first to use Military Anti Shock Trousers into service and responded throughout the Valley delivering advanced life support.
The Corps was a leader in shaping the EMS system in the region by being represented on the ad-hock committee that formed the South Central Emergency Medical Services Council. The Corps also joined the C-MED radio system the day it went into operation making possible for the first time direct communications between the doctors at the hospital and the EMT's in the field.
In addition to emergency medical care, the Corps has also been a leader in rescue technology. The Storm Ambulance Corps was the first in New England and the third in the nation to purchase the Hurst "jaws of life" rescue tool. Twenty minutes after being placed in service the tool was used in Ansonia to remove a trapped driver.
In 1993 the Corps placed on line a Special Hazards Unit which again fills a unique need. The members identified responding to hazardous materials calls and persons trapped in confined spaces as potentially serious and deadly situations to both victims and responders. A fund drive was established and training was begun to enable the volunteers to handle these situations. Through an independent grant from the New Haven Foundation a vehicle was purchased and the all volunteer Haz-Mat response team was formed.
The group is always looking to the future to provide the cutting edge of technology for the people it serves. It operates with 42 Emergency Medical Technicians, 25 of which are also rescue and Haz-Mat trained. This means that the volunteers spend great numbers of hours training and keeping certified, as well as responding 24 hours a day 7 days a week.