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Kilmarnock

Volunteer rescue squads question decision to hire second paid crew

Megan Schiffres

by Megan Schiffres

HEATHSVILLE—Members of the Mid-County Volunteer Rescue Squad on July 12 appealed to the Northumberland board of supervisors to reconsider its decision to hire a second full-time rescue crew.

After a report from the chief of emergency services showed volunteer squads in the county had failed to respond to a significant portion of 911 calls over the past year, the board in June approved a second paid rescue crew.

The report indicated the Callao Volunteer Rescue Squad responded to 38% of 911 calls dispatched to their agency, the Mid-County Volunteer Rescue Squad responded to 62% of dispatched calls and the Northumberland County Volunteer Rescue Squad responded to 87% of 911 calls over the past year. All three of these squads are volunteer emergency service organizations.

Meanwhile, the only paid squad in the county, the Northumberland Department of Emergency Services, responded to 100% of the 911 calls it received.

“I object to the board of supervisors’ plan to implement a second paid crew when other much more cost-effective methods could be employed by using the volunteers in conjunction with paid EMTs and paramedics,” said Valarie Barton, a Mid-County Volunteer Rescue Squad member.

The board has budgeted approximately $600,000 for the 2018-19 fiscal year to hire a second full-time emergency services squad, according to county administrator Luttrell Tadlock…

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