The Bedford Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corp. (BSVAC) has served the people of the Bedford Stuyvesant community for the past 25 years and to mark this milestone a fleet of various emergency vehicles cruised through the community on Saturday, July 13, in an exhibition of pride and strength.
The needs of the residents of Bed-Stuy are no different from those of communities elsewhere. People feel more secure when they know that exceptional medical service is available in case of an emergency. BSVAC brings a measure of security to the community.
This volunteer EMT service was the brainchild of two neighborhood men, Commander Rocky Robinson and Joe Perez. At that time both men were employed as EMTs and decided to use their skills to help their community, which was being underserved. Perez, who is now employed by the United States Coast Guard Public Affairs Office Air Station Clearwater, Florida, Homeland Security, says that he and Commander Robinson started on foot. They had roped off an area in the community for an operation base, and used their personal equipment and scanners as they ran to help residents with emergencies. They soon elevated to a car and set the goal of response time to four minutes, which they achieved. On many occasions they were the first responders on the scene and the city’s EMT resented their presence. As the years went by, and they continued to display their exceptional medical skills they were no longer viewed with scorn but as valued partners. Surplus equipment was donated to them.
Commander Robinson, a retired FDNY Captain, operates the academy located at 727 Green Ave. in Bed-Stuy. The academy is state certified and offers year-round classes, which include CPR; First Aid; EMT-B; First Responders; Cevo and Cabs in languages such as English, Spanish, Creole and French. This emergency service academy has a history of assisting others during disasters and their policies has had national impact on emergency service. Graduates and volunteers from the Academy have been among first responders at Ground Zero during 911, Hurricane Katrina, Irene, Sandy and even the earthquake in Haiti.