Volunteer rescue squad says policy changes could affect funding

Suffolk, Va. – Volunteers at the Nansemond-Suffolk Rescue Squad are upset about a policy change issued by the city fire chief.

“As of September 1st Suffolk’s new chief stated he’s going to change our call volume putting us second-due,” says Barbara Smith, Vice president of the squad.

That means the chief wants to staff station one on Market Street 24-7 with a career medic.

The volunteer rescue squad is right down the road at station two.

Smith says they would only be responding to calls when city staffers at station one aren’t available.

“If station one is already out on a call in our run area during the times that we’re on duty, if they’re out on a call and a second call comes in, then we would be dispatched,” says Smith.

She says their call volume would go down from around 1,300 last year to less than 100.

And, being that they’re a nonprofit working off of donations and state grants, dropping their call volume would have detrimental effects.

“If our call volume reduces, we no longer qualify for state grants to teach and educate new medics which we have done for 53 years,” says Smith.

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