Squad desires extra funding, help

Published 9:19 am Thursday, February 11, 2016

The last time funding increased for emergency medical services (EMS) in Charlotte County was 1999, according to EMS providers.

On Tuesday, an emergency medical services presentation was given to county supervisors by Walt Bailey and Bill Mayhew. “We’re not here to ask for any money or anything,” said Bill Mayhew, a captain with the Charlotte County Rescue Squad. He said the squad just wanted to enlighten the supervisors about what was going on with their organization.

Walt Bailey, also a member of the rescue squad, said the last time funding was increased by the board of supervisors for the squad was in 1999, when the funding went from $35,000 to $65,000.

“We are very fortunate that 47 years ago . . . the Charlotte County Rescue Squad was formed and has served this county in a great fashion for many many years,” said Bailey. “We’re at a point where we need your help to serve you.”

He also made the point that state law requires that each community must have EMS services provided throughout the entire locality.  In 1998, EMS services within Charlotte County were a joint effort provided by the Charlotte County Rescue Squad, Chase City Rescue Squad, Appomattox Rescue Squad and Brookneal Rescue Squad, according to Bailey.

He said in 1999, Charlotte County’s all-volunteer rescue squad responded to approximately 600 calls alone within the year.

“Now we’re staffing or attempting to staff three stations,” Bailey said. He said the other localities no longer come into the county.

Bailey said Charlotte County’s EMS is supplemented by the Charlotte Court House Fire Department and Drakes Branch First Responders.

“I can not begin to tell you how valuable that service is to us,” said Bailey. “They’re serving the whole county.”

According to Bailey, the call volume of Charlotte County EMS providers has increased by 166 percent since 1999. The Charlotte County Rescue Squad responds to about 1,600 call per year.

In light of this, Bailey said state and county funding has remained neutral and no additional money has accrued. He said the average cost per call is $565.62.

“In 2010, our revenue versus expenses started exceeding,” Bailey said. A shift from volunteer to paid rescue workers occurred in 2012, and the Rescue Squad netted a gain of $333,215 with the approval of the billing process by the Board of Supervisors. However, the losses resumed the following year. “Obviously, this is not sustainable,” said Bailey.

Because of this, Bailey said the squad is not able to fully staff all three stations within the county around the clock.

“We used to staff all three until the revenue started dropping,” Mayhew said. He said it would cost about an additional $43,000 to add an extra crew.