Colchester Rescue was formed by a number of Colchester firefighters who saw the need in the early 1960s for ambulance service in the town; we were the first volunteer squad formed in this area.

In the Beginning
The Malletts Bay Rescue Squad (MBRS) was founded by the Malletts Bay Fire Department (MBFD) Association in late 1961. MBFD itself was a pioneering organization, formed in the mid-1950s and one of the first volunteer fire departments in this area. MBFD primarily covered the Malletts Bay portion of the town.

The 1st rescue call didn't come until early 1962; there were 20 calls that year and 33 calls in 1963. Colchester's population at this time was less than 5,000.

New Ambulance
In 1967, the Town purchased a new ambulance for MBRS, although the MBFD Association still provided day-to-day funding and personnel. In 1970, the Town of Colchester formally took over funding of MBRS and the Rescue Squad became a budget line item separate from the fire department.

In 1977, the squad changed its name from MBRS to the Colchester Rescue Squad (CRS) (aka Town of Colchester Ambulance) to reinforce to the community that ambulance service extended to the entire Town, not just the Malletts Bay area. In fact, the only part of Colchester for which CRS does not have primary coverage is the Route 15 corridor. Much of that area was part of the St. Michael's College campus and became the responsibility of St. Michael's Rescue. We have left it that way because of their generally faster response time to that area.

Colchester Malletts Bay Rescue Patch
  1. 1960s
  2. 1970s
  3. 1980s
  4. 1990s
  5. 2000s


In May 1984, CRS moved from the MBFD fire station on Church Road to our current quarters on Blakely Road (although the building at the time only comprised the living and sleeping quarters and front half of the ambulance bays). This positioned us near the geographic center of Town so, like the town offices and Police Department, we were better able to serve the community as a whole. Later that year, the independence of CRS became complete when we adopted the current organizational patch and acquired our own radio frequency, independent of the fire departments.

In the Fall of 1990, CRS started the Rescue Dive Team in cooperation with the Police Department and Harbormaster.  All CRS members on the Dive Team are required to be active members of rescue, certified at the ECA or EMT level; this requirement is in place to maintain a focus on our primary mission of providing emergency medical services to the Town.  By 1991, we acquired a small surplus van to carry technical rescue equipment, as well as a small inflatable Zodiak motorboat. In 1992, construction of an addition to our building provided us with the additional garage space necessary to store the van and boat, as well as a new training room.

Career Staff

As call volume started to significantly increase during the mid- to late-1980s, one trend became of great concern; namely, the largest growth in calls was during the Monday-Friday daytime when we had no set crew on duty. We started to see a noticeable degradation in our level of service during those hours in terms of an increasing average response time, decreasing percentage of calls with an IV-certified EMT available, and an increasing number of calls for which we could not even muster a crew (necessitating us to turn the call over to another service, thus, even more increasing the response time. In 1998, we received funding to hire a paid EMT in July of that year. We actually hired our first full-time EMT for daytime coverage in November, 1998 and hired a second February, 1999 and then a third in 2000. CRS has been a wholly-volunteer squad since our inception in 1961, so the hiring of even one full-time person marked the end of an era .

CRS has been a forward-looking organization since its inception. We are one of the oldest ambulance services in the Chittenden County area and possibly the oldest volunteer squad, a tribute to the members of MBFD who founded us over 50 years ago. We participated in the very first EMT courses in Vermont. We adopted the use of many new technologies early on, such as pagers, portable radios, medical anti-shock trousers (MAST), intravenous (IV) therapy, Doppler monitors, cardiac monitors, defibrillators, and Paramedicine.  We were one of the first to formalize a first- responder system, use a computer to track our activity and training (using programs developed in-house), form a Junior Member Program, and provide Hepatitis B inoculations.

Technical Rescue Team

Our Technical Rescue Team (formally the Dive Team) is recognized throughout the state for its work in water and ice rescue emergencies, as well as other hazardous terrain rescues. In addition to providing better and faster emergency medical care, we have, by sharing our experiences throughout the district, helped prove the usefulness of much of this equipment and many of these programs in the field.