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Bedford Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Emergency Medical Services & Transport, Health

Mission: The nation’s first multi-racial volunteer ambulance corps, BSVAC has been providing emergency medical services and training programs since 1988. BSVAC’s mission is two-fold: to save lives (through its neighborhood first responder station and its ambulance service) and to change lives (through its emergency medical training programs). At BSVAC, we are saving lives today and building lives for tomorrow. • We save lives • We grow heroes

Results: Emergency Medical Services BSVAC is an internationally recognized life-saving organization, that has responded to emergencies throughout the U.S. (including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the Queens air disaster, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy) and abroad; it was the first organization to send volunteer medical personnel to Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake. More locally, BSVAC was a first responder to the East Harlem blast in March 2014 and BSVAC responded to the tragic shooting in Bed-Stuy of police officers Wenjan Liu and Rafael Ramos in December 2014. BSVAC was also in the forefront of responding to the COVID-19 crisis that first appeared in the NYC in early 2020. Training Programs BSVAC’s grassroots education effort has been a central part of the BSVAC mission from its start in 1988 and BSVAC has been training New Yorkers in emergency medical care since then. To date, over two thousand local residents of all ages have been trained through BSVAC as First Responders who can save lives in emergencies. BSVAC’s program for children, called the Trauma Troopers, provides CPR and first aid training, along with positive role models and social activities. BSVAC has also developed a remarkable Youth Corps program that provides CPR, first aid and basic emergency medical training to teens, preparing them for entry into the EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) training program at its EMS Training Academy from which hundreds of young people have graduated, many of whom have become professional EMTs, joined law enforcement, or have otherwise embarked on careers in medicine as nurses, physician assistants, paramedics and even doctors.

Direct beneficiaries per year: When BSVAC first began operations, the response time in Bed-Stuy for city ambulances averaged about 30 minutes. BSVAC established a record-breaking ambulance service that currently maintains an average response time of less than 4 minutes. BSVAC also established a neighborhood first aid center and has worked to promote preventive health care in the community. BSVAC has lost count of the number of lives it has saved.When BSVAC first began operations, the response time in Bed-Stuy for city ambulances averaged about 30 minutes. BSVAC established a record-breaking ambulance service that currently maintains an average response time of less than 4 minutes. BSVAC also established a neighborhood first aid center and has worked to promote preventive health care in the community. BSVAC has lost count of the number of lives it has saved.

Geographic areas served: BSVAC is based in Brooklyn, N.Y., but it has provided life-saving emergency medical services internationally.

Programs: The centerpiece of BSVAC’s activities is its volunteer ambulance service. BSVAC has been the busiest volunteer ambulance service of its size in the nation, responding on average to more than 1,200 calls per year. In order to run the ambulance service, trained volunteers must be available. It was this need for trained volunteers that led to the development of BSVAC’s emergency medical training programs. From its inception, BSVAC has been committed to training community residents in life-saving emergency medical skills. Thus, there is a critical synergy between the two components of BSVAC’s mission: by training individuals to deliver emergency medical care, BSVAC “grows” the trained volunteers it needs to run its ambulance service. In addition, by providing training, BSVAC enables its volunteers to secure employment in the emergency medical services field.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

Bedford-Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps (BSVAC), the nation’s only multi-racial volunteer ambulance corps, was founded in 1988 by two EMS workers, Captain James ("Rocky") Robinson and Specialist Joe Perez. It was my great honor to be able to assist them as a pro bono lawyer. The creation of BSVAC was in response to the crisis in emergency medical service that afflicts New York’s minority communities.

When BSVAC first began operations, the response time in Bed-Stuy for city ambulances averaged about 30 minutes. BSVAC established a record-breaking ambulance service maintaining an average response time of less than 4 minutes. BSVAC also established a neighborhood first aid center and has worked to promote preventive health care in the community. BSVAC has lost count of the number of lives it has saved.

In addition to its work in Brooklyn, BSVAC is an internationally recognized life-saving organization, that has responded to emergencies throughout the U.S. (including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the Queens air disaster, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy) and abroad; it was the first organization to send volunteer medical personnel to Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake. More locally, BSVAC was a first responder to the East Harlem blast in March 2014 and BSVAC responded to the tragic shooting in Bed-Stuy of police officers Wenjan Liu and Rafael Ramos in December 2014. BSVAC has also been in the forefront of responding to the COVID-19 crisis that first appeared in the NYC in early 2020.

As someone who has been with BSVAC from the beginning, it has been my privilege to see the organization confront and overcome more than three decades of challenges and repeatedly achieve what would seem to be impossible. One of my roles has been to help EMT students who have been caught up in the legal system secure required permission from NYS to take the certification examination. Helping these students realize their dreams of becoming life savers has been the most gratifying experience I have had in a long career as a lawyer.

Tamsin Wolf

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Checkout their amazing life saving work at BSVAC.org