Alton Volunteer Emergency Corps

  "Helping Others"



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In 1948, three young children were swimming on the banks of the Mississippi River, in what is now called the Alton Pool.  During their activity, the three children disappeared, and later found, drown in the Mississippi River.  The community was horrified of the drowning; where upon, several men in the community formed a group to respond to people in distress on the Mississippi River. 

As time progressed, the organization expanded and helps people in distress on area lakes, ponds, creeks, as well as the Mississippi River.  In the mid-1960ís, AVEC was called upon to supply ambulance service when local providers decided to end their services.  Until the hospitals began supplying service, AVEC was the only ambulance provider. 

After the hospitals took control of the ambulance service, AVEC was downgraded, and no longer provided medical services.


 In the 1990ís, AVEC suffered a loss of manpower and financial donations.  In 1998, AVEC had dwindled down to only six members, although they still provided water rescue and recovery.  In late 1998, AVEC began a public recruiting drive and by the end of 1999, their membership had grown to nearly 20 men and women.  As new members joined, training began immediately for them to learn how to operate boats, drive vehicles, and proper code of ethics expected of the corps. 

21st Century: 

As the world entered the 21st century with technical requirements, so did AVEC.  The corps had to keep up with society and keep communications and services up to date.  New paging service provided alphanumeric messages to all members for emergencies.  New radios had to be purchased to keep in contact during searches on the river, as well as driving to the scenes. 

 AVEC re-entered the medical world by adding  3 EMTs.  Also, 12 members of the corps were trained and certified as First Responders.  Although AVEC does not provide ambulance service, they are first responders to scenes until the ambulance and fire departments arrive. 

 Training with the local emergency management agency began for haz-mat.  In the event a hazardous material spill occurs, AVEC has been trained in procedures, and will be called upon if required.

 AVEC has expanded its role in the community by providing ground search and rescue along with their normal water search and rescue.  A donated RV allowed members to convert it to a mobile command center with radios, computers, and working area to use at the scene of disaster.  Additionally, AVEC now works in conjunction with the Madison County Emergency Management Agency and the Illinois Management Agency.  AVEC has expanded its coverage to include a 100-mile radius of the St. Louis community.




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Godfrey Fire Department

Wood River Fire Department

Wood River Police Department

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