The Amherst Rescue Squad is preparing to dissolve its corporate structure and fold personnel and resources into Amherst County’s public safety department, according to county officials.
The rescue squad’s articles of incorporation require a distribution of remaining assets to the county and Town of Amherst government, according to an April 6 report to the Board of Supervisors from County Administrator Dean Rodgers.
The board appointed members Claudia Tucker, who represents the district in which the rescue squad is headquartered, and Jimmy Ayers to meet with two council members to resolve any issues that may arise from the planned dissolution, the staff report from Rodgers states.
Sam Bryant, Amherst County’s director of public safety, said he has been in talks with the rescue squad’s captain for months about the move. The squad has about 10 volunteers and owns trucks and a building on U.S. 60 in the town.
“There would be a volunteer core of people out of public safety,” Bryant said of the squad folding its resources into the department.
Bryant said the volunteer’s inclusion in public safety daily operations would be much welcomed.
“We’re going to roll the red carpet out,” Bryant said.
In 1958, Amherst Life Saving Crew began to be developed, according to Amherst County’s website. Prior to that time, medical services were provided by private ambulance from Lynchburg and funeral homes. In 1959, the articles of incorporation were completed and Amherst Life Saving Crew was formed.
Emergency medical service in Amherst County is served by volunteers and career staff in three departments: Amherst, Monelison and Pedlar with each having primary service areas in the county, according to a description of EMS services on the county’s website.
Bryant said the goal for the rescue squad folding into public safety is for Amherst residents to not know the difference in services provided.
“They’re not going to see a change in service at all,” Bryant said. “If anything, it’s going to be better.”
The public safety department took a similar measure with the Pedlar Rescue Squad several years ago, Bryant said. In July 2016 the Pedlar squad ceased to operate as an entity separate from the county because of the limited number of people available to handle the EMS calls, and public safety assumed the operational aspect.
Bryant said the national trend with volunteering is the requirements for EMS training, certifications and requirements have increased tremendously.
“People can’t keep up with it,” Bryant said. “We do it for a living and we can barely keep up with it.”