The Putnam County Rescue Squad began in 1952 and was established as a function of Civil Defense as a volunteer unit working to help the citizens of Putnam County during times of emergency or disaster. Its primary duties were search and rescue. It began first with one vehicle, an old van donated by the local telephone company, and a dozen members at most with almost no equipment, official training, or certifications.
One of the first additional functions added was water rescue with the acquisition of a boat and trailer. At that time, it was primarily used for dragging for drowning victims. Also added as an emergency response service was extrication, cutting victims out of wrecked vehicles. The Rescue Squad obtained its first Jaws of Life, seen to the left, in the late 1970s, which was a vast improvement over hand tools.
In the past few years, other functions that have emerged within the squad are swiftwater rescue, diving, rappelling/high angle/mountain rescue, school bus rescue, structural collapse/trench rescue, rural search and rescue/basic visual tracking, GPS land navigation, farm rescue, and stormspotting. The squad now has a total of 14 vehicles in four locations in the county for more rapid response, 2 boats and 1 swiftwater rescue raft, 2 four-wheelers, 2 Gators, one of which has a Medi-Bed attached for patient transport out of rugged areas, 1 Polaris Ranger, and 4 equipment trailers all loaded with different types of equipment to enable them to perform all of the different types of rescues. The squad has grown to a total of 59 members, all certified in different functions and types of responses. The squad is still an all-volunteer orginization donating their time and hard work to benefit the citizens of not only Putnam County but surrounding counties through mutual aid.