The Greene County Rescue Squad has asked the county to supply paid personnel to cover the final night shifts that were being covered solely by volunteers, according to the county administrator and the captain of the squad.
“With recruitment down and all of that, we just went to the county to ask for a little help to try to stay ahead of the game,” said Capt. Jack McKeen. “We’re still running calls, too. We’re basically rebuilding the squad right now.”
McKeen said there are no plans to close up shop for volunteers. In fact there is a new EMT class going on right now that has a good turnout, he said.
“We’re not fighting with the county and we’re not going under. We just need a little help,” McKeen said.
Greene County Administrator Mark Taylor told the Board of Supervisors Oct. 8 that the squad plans to continue to provide standby rescue squad service at athletic events and other community events, as well.
“I want to point out that the service they can continue to provide is of significant value to the community and very much appreciated,” Taylor said.
Greene County partners with the University of Virginia Health System’s Medic 5 for paid rescue personnel, who will now cover the squad 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
“Volunteers, they come and go,” McKeen said. “But we’ve got no plans to close the doors any time soon.”
Greene rescue has been operating for a while as hybrid model with Medic 5 during the day and volunteers at night, however with the fiscal year 2020 budget that began July 1 a five-night per week paid shift was added.
The Greene County Volunteer Rescue Squad began in 1968, celebrating its 50th anniversary last December.
In 2016, there were 2,140 calls for EMS in Greene and in 2018 there were 2,337, according to statistics from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office which oversees the E911 center. McKeen said he expects to beat that number in 2019.
The decision to ask the county wasn’t made lightly, Taylor noted.
“All involved are doing their best to ensure continuity of coverage for the community during this transition,” Taylor said. “And we’re looking hard at the cost.”
Taylor said the cost for the extra shift will be around $70,000.
McKeen said there will be a trunk or treat at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31 and those interested in learning more about volunteering are invited to talk to current volunteers about the process.
The squad is at 9845 Spotswood Trail, Stanardsville. Call the non-emergency number for more information or to set up a ride along at (434) 985-7214. The rescue squad also includes information about upcoming classes and events on its Facebook page www.facebook.com/greenecountyrescuesquad. Visit the website at http://greeneresq.org for information, too.