While most students look forward to going home for the holidays, a few look forward to staying behind. The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad (VTRS) operates 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year ⁠— including all breaks.

When class is in session, the student-run, all-volunteer VTRS is staffed to full capacity with around 45 members. On breaks, the squad has a rotating staff of about five to 10 members who stay in Blacksburg to serve the remaining community. At least four members are on duty at all times.

As a part of the commitment to the rescue squad, every member serves some “break duty” throughout the year and many serve on multiple breaks. The duty assignments over break are equally distributed amongst these members.

While there is a decrease in call volume due to a decrease in the total campus population, the squad is still busy with other responsibilities, including sporting events, teaching classes, and performing administrative work. The VTRS is on standby at Cassell Coliseum for all Virginia Tech basketball games that occur during winter break.

When the members of the squad are not training or on a rescue call, there is some downtime.

In this downtime, on-duty staff members like to get ahead on projects around the station, including routine maintenance and upkeep. While off duty, they use the time to work on homework assignments, fun activities, and getting well-deserved rest.

"The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad greatly appreciates its members who sacrifice their holidays and breaks to serve the Virginia Tech community,” said Jake Martin, chief of the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad. “They demonstrate that our squad always remains dedicated to Ut Prosim.”

The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad has provided the best possible emergency medical care to the Virginia Tech community since its inception in 1969, along with providing training, education, and experience to those interested in emergency medicine. It is the oldest volunteer collegiate rescue squad in the country and the first in the commonwealth of Virginia.

Written by Christy Myers

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