The slogan of the Sun City Center Emergency Squad is “Neighbors Helping Neighbors.” It has been doing this at no cost to community residents for almost 60 years.

The Sun City Center Emergency Squad is an all-volunteer organization that serves the Sun City Center community. The organization assists ill and injured community residents and has been providing its services since 1964.

The emergency squad provides basic life-support emergency medical services at no cost to the community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, including holidays. The squad has a close working relationship with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue (HCFR) Advanced Life Support, which is available as backup in the event of life-threatening emergencies. In turn, HCFR depends on the squad to respond with it on most calls. If the patient is stable, the squad will transport, freeing the Advanced Life Support unit to respond to more serious cases. A patient is charged only if HCFR transports the patient.

Today, the squad has almost 400 volunteers during peak season. It serves its community and helps its friends and neighbors when they are in need. The ambulance crew volunteers number approximately 120, but many are seasonal, some are still fully employed and there are always a few who are on medical leave, so the squad is always looking for new volunteers to help fill those absences.

Squad chief Mike Bardell said, “Next year, we will celebrate our 60th year in operation. We have never charged anyone for any service, as everyone in the squad is a volunteer.”

Bardell added, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone thought that if you caught the virus, it was likely a death sentence. The average age of our volunteers is 70; I was concerned that we would have to shut down. However, even if they were at risk, we knew we needed to continue. I am proud to say that we never shut down. This is pretty incredible feat for a group of seniors.”

The squad provides a variety of services, including basic life support emergency services, wheelchair van transportation to appointments, blood pressure checks and more — all for free.

If you are new to the community, please stop by the squad’s station, which is located at 720 Ray Watson Dr. in Sun City Center. Its office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and its ambulance service is available 24 hours a day.

The medical emergency number is 813-634-3800. To get more information, including how you can become a Sun City Center Emergency Squad volunteer, please call 813-633-1411.

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