Operational Medical Support Unit (OMS) was created to provide the Department with medical support capabilities. Its current mission provides support for:
- Natural and Man-made Disasters
- Search and Recovery Team Missions Support
- Tact Team Operations – Tactical medicine
- Tactical Field Force Support – Riot Control/Crowd Management
- EPU/Dignitary Assignments/Needs
- Hazardous Material and Blast support: CCI, BCI, Bomb Arson
- BCI Task Force Operations
- K-9 medicine – Handlers and K-9s
- Training Academy and Driver Training Complex – Range and Driver Training Support
- Large Incident/Assignment Support
Medical support is recognized as a vital asset to the Department and has been credited for saving many lives and enhancing the safety and wellbeing of our members as well as citizens of our Commonwealth.
The concept of the unit was conceived after Hurricane Isabel in September 2003. The Department’s Search and Recovery Team (SRT), which was newly certified in swiftwater rescue, responded to several James River communities in Surry Virginia. Local resources were inundated with calls for services due to the hurricane’s aftermath and were unable to respond to the possible mass-casualty situation. The SRT performed their duties with little to no support.
After Hurricane Isabel, it was agreed that the SRT mission had grown to provide medical support capabilities during future natural and man-made disasters to assist local EMS resources as well as to increase the medical support for other SRT responses. A four-week Emergency Medical Technician school was conducted by the Department and all the SRT members were certified as EMTs with the mission to provide pre-hospital emergency medical support for all VSP operations.
In 2012, the Operational Medical Support (OMS) Unit was spawned from highly trained members of the SRT and officially recognized as an Advanced Life Support Agency under the Department of Health and the Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS). This provided the Department with its own certified medical unit within the agency, a concept outside the norm. In 2017, the Department hired an OMS Coordinator and Medical Director to oversee OMS’s training and compliance with state medical directives and procedures.