Welcome to the

Bedford-Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps

A multi-racial volunteer ambulance service and emergency medical training facility in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

“The People’s EMS” – Since 1988

Savings lives today. Building lives for tomorrow.

Above, a VICE News video featuring our late founder, James (“Rocky”) Robinson, and his son, Antoine Robinson, in 2015.

URGENT:  BSVAC needs your support NOW!  Click here to donate
Official website of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps


Open to the Public

Interested in volunteering or training with BSVAC?

1st Saturday of each month, 1 pm

Our family at the Bedford-Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps stands with everyone who is fighting peacefully to bring justice across America during this time.

BSVAC in Action

Brooklyn volunteer ambulance group battling back

Brooklyn volunteer ambulance group battling back

Brooklyn volunteer ambulance group battling back after setbacks BY LORI CHUNG BROOKLYN PUBLISHED 6:00 AM ET MAR. 15, 2022 BROOKLYN, N.Y. — There’s no telling what the members of the Bed Stuy Volunteer Ambulance Corps will find...

read more
First Responders Call for Help:

First Responders Call for Help:

At top, historic photo shows the late Rocky Robinson, center, holding court surrounded by first responders he personally trained. Our Time Press Bedford-Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance CorpsBattles Coronavirus Pandemic Antoine...

read more


The Bedford-Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps (BSVAC) is the nation’s first multi-racial volunteer ambulance corps, founded in 1988 by two EMS workers, Captain James “Rocky” Robinson” and Specialist Joe Perez. Since then, “The Vollies” have both saved lives and changed lives in a community disproportionately affected by physical and economic trauma. Commander Robinson passed away in September, 2019, and his son, Antoine Robinson, is now Commanding Officer.

Support BSVAC

BSVAC responds through 911. No one is turned away due to lack of financial resources. But we need your help now for ambulance upkeep and equipment. You may contribute via these 2 secure venues THANK YOU!:

BSVAC is a non -profit, tax-exempt organization under I.R.C. Section 501(3)(c); your donations will be tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.



James “Rocky” Robinson


Antoine Robinson teaching CPR.

BSVAC young members.

Message from BSVAC Commanding Officer,
Antoine Robinson

Spring 2024

Exciting things are happening at BSVAC. For more than 35 years, the local focus of our community-based volunteer ambulance and emergency medical service has been a primary response area consisting of the Bedford-Stuyvesant and Ocean Hill neighborhoods of Brooklyn. I am pleased to report that following a lengthy review and approval process conducted by the Regional Emergency Services Council of New York City and the New York State Department of Health, BSVAC has now officially expanded its primary operating territory to include the additional Brooklyn neighborhoods of East New York, Brownsville and Crown Heights.  As a result of this expansion, our primary service area has increased by approximately 8.5 square miles and it now covers an additional 365,000 Brooklyn residents. The need for our community-based service in these additional neighborhoods was clearly evident and we are now busier than ever as we continue the BSVAC tradition of “putting the help where the hurt is” to serve our neighbors in these areas.   

In addition to responding to a significantly increased volume of emergency calls, BSVAC continues to provide training in life-saving emergency medical skills, including through our Trauma Troopers youth program.  At BSVAC, we are committed not only to saving lives and but also to training the next generation of life savers.  We know that the future depends on our youth and at BSVAC we are dedicated to inspiring and empowering our youngsters.  For this reason, our next major initiative will be working to expand our training program to include a full EMT training academy.    

We also serve our community through EMT standbys at local events, food and clothing drives, holiday gift drives for families in shelters, back to school events, spring family events, our anniversary community health fair/street festival celebrations, and much more.

None of our activities would be possible without BSVAC’s dedicated volunteers, who sacrifice their time, energy and even sleep to help save lives and improve the health of our community.  And BSVAC would not be able to continue operating without the generous donations, words of encouragement and friendship of our supporters.  All our volunteers and supporters are part of the BSVAC family and we appreciate all you have done more than words can express.  Now I ask you to continue to help BSVAC save lives. train our youth, and serve the communities in our expanded service area.   

Thank you and please stay safe and well.

From left: James (Rocky) Robinson, Tamsin Wolf and Joe Perez.

Joe Perez at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, FL. 

Message from
BSVAC Co-Founder, Joe Perez

To All the Volunteers at BSVAC:

I congratulate you on the expansion of BSVAC’s service area.  Your outstanding efforts and dedication have helped enable BSVAC to continue its tradition of saving and changing lives – a tradition that began more than 35 years ago.  When I look back and remember the humble beginnings of BSVAC, I am filled with pride and gratitude.  And I know that now you will be even busier as you respond to more emergency calls and save even more lives in the expanded service area.

I also know that the additional neighborhoods you are now serving suffer the same poor health outcomes that afflict other underserved (Black and Latino) communities in America, including lower life expectancies, increased incidence of diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and other chronic conditions.  The NYC Department of Health recently announced a statistic that illustrates the situation starkly: the pregnancy-related mortality rate for Black women in NYC is more than 9 times the rate for white women.  This situation is tragic and what makes it even more heartbreaking is the fact that these shocking disparities in health outcomes have not improved over time and still persist to this day.

Be not discouraged.  The best response is to take action.  Remember that each time you respond to a BSVAC call for emergency medical services, you are not only helping the patient – you are also affirming the worth and dignity of every individual in these underserved communities.   

Thank you and God Bless all of you.

Joe Perez
Community Liaison, Public Affairs Office
United States Coast Guard
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Clearwater, Florida

Joe Perez was the EMT who partnered with James (“Rocky”) Robinson in NYC’s Emergency Medical Services and co-founded BSVAC. Joe’s face and voice remain familiar to everyone at BSVAC from the videos and documentaries that are shown to new recruits. His exploits, humor and heroism are personally recalled with great affection by all those at BSVAC who worked directly with him.

After co-founding BSVAC and devoting years of dedicated service to BSVAC, during which he helped the organization grow through designing BSVAC’s innovative training programs, Joe relocated with his family to Florida, where he started a successful business. An avid volunteer, Joe began his volunteer service with the U.S. Coast Guard in 2009 and became Community Liaison in 2017. Among other things, he is responsible for Public Affairs projects and media, supervising tour hosts and Speakers Bureau members, and hosting community events and tour groups. He also serves as the base photographer. Joe is stationed at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, which is the U.S. Coast Guard’s largest air station.

Contact Us / Join Our Mailing List

Name: Bedford-Stuyesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps

Phone: 718-453-4617

Email: info@bsvac.org

Address: 727 Greene Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11221

Organization type: Emergency Rescue Service · Nonprofit · Safety & First Aid Service and Training

Want to Join?

Of course, volunteer help is welcome. However, to ride with the ambulance and provide medical care to patients, any prospective volunteers must prove they are licensed EMTs or Paramedics and have an interview in person. There are also other volunteer opportunities for individuals who are not certified as EMTs or Paramedics, including dispatching (to be trained by BSVAC). Please call us, send an e-mail or come to one of our Monthly Meetings. You can submit our application ahead of time here.

Interested in volunteering with BSVAC
or exploring training opportunities?
Open to the Public

The best way to find out about BSVAC is to attend one of our monthly meetings, which are held on the first Saturday of each month at 1:00 PM.  Our monthly meetings are open to the public and take place at BSVAC headquarters at 727 Greene Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11221.

If you would like to volunteer as an EMT:  Please note that our membership process would require you to supply photocopies of your EMT certification, CPR card, valid driver's license (or other photo ID such as a passport), medical records showing that you are physically fit and have no communicable diseases, and records of your immunizations (vaccinations).  In addition, you would have to supply proof that you have completed any required NYS DOH protocol update training.