ACFR to Assume New Responsibilities after Dissolution of Rescue Squad
After nearly five decades of service, Albemarle County has decided to shut the doors of one of its volunteer rescue squads for good.
This decision comes after the Scottsville Volunteer Rescue Squad announced that is had been operating with a shortage of volunteers for months and was in need of assistance.
On Wednesday, April 17, the board of supervisors voted that Albemarle County Fire-Rescue (ACFR) will take over service in southern Albemarle County. However, some county leaders say the decision wasn't an easy one to make.
After 45 years of service, the Scottsville Volunteer Rescue Squad will be closing its doors for good.
“We were left with no recourse under the circumstances,” Rick Randolph, the Scottsville supervisor, said. “They continued to bleed personnel."
On Wednesday night, Albemarle County supervisors announced that ACFR will assume responsibility for emergency medical operations for southern Albemarle.
“It’s been a labored decision, and I think the board has probably met somewhere in the neighborhood of five times in closed session to discuss how best to accommodate the needs of the residents of southern Albemarle,” Randolph said.
“Our main priority is to provide uninterrupted service 24 hours a day while we work with the squad during this transition,” ACFR Chief Dan Eggleston said.
Back in December 2018, Eggleston received a letter from the Scottsville Volunteer Rescue Squad asking for support from the county for day-to-day operations.
As of January, the squad was operating with less than 50% of necessary volunteers.
“It just reaches a point where we can't run the risk any further to assume that they're going to be able to sustain even the absolutely de minimis presence of volunteers,” Randolph said.
Chief Eggleston says he will work with any volunteers with the squad if they are still interested in volunteering with the county, but the lack of volunteers has become a nationwide problem.
“We see across the country challenges, and it’s our hope that we can provide initiatives to turn the tide and make it much easier for people to step up and volunteer for their community," Eggleston said.
Randolph says the board made the decision with safety being its top priority.
“We're forced by circumstances,” Randolph said. “It’s not something we wanted to do, but it’s something we have to do for the residents of southern Albemarle."
Albemarle County Fire-Rescue says it will continue to work with the Scottsville Volunteer Rescue Squad to assure the transition will be an easy one, and it expects to fully take over operations sometime this fall.