APPALACHIA, Va. - The Appalachia Rescue Squad no longer exists. The squad membership decided in a vote to permanently shut down following a controversy that's been going on for about a year.
We've learned the Appalachia Fire Department will now take rescue squad calls, but that can't happen until certain requirements are met.
The doors of the Appalachia Rescue Squad are closed. The ambulances are gone, and so is the squad. "As of right now, the Appalachia Rescue Squad has folded and is not in operation. The local EMS agencies have stepped up to provide EMS transport," Appalachia fire chief Robert Anderson, Jr. said.
For some time now, the fire department has been providing medical services, but they can't transport patients -- they have no ambulance.
However, that's going to change soon. "The fire department has requested through the office of EMS to be able to provide transport service. At the present time we do have an ambulance on order, it is a used ambulance but it will be about two to three weeks before we take delivery of the ambulance," Anderson says.
Using the fire department and consolidating their emergency services was a decision of the town council after receiving complaints from citizens about the services provided by the Appalachia Rescue Squad. "The Appalachia town council made the decision to go in a direction of having the Appalachia Fire Department do our rescue calls," town manager Fred Luntsford said.
The fire department and the town assure us that the citizens are being served and will be served better when the fire department get the necessary approvals. "We're hoping to be in service within at least three weeks, maybe a month, provided all the paperwork and documentation is signed. The office of EMS signs all the things that we have to go through," Chief Anderson said.