Economic crisis hitting local rescue squad - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Economic crisis hitting local rescue squad

By Laura Geller - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - The volunteers who come to your aid when you're hurt or sick, now need some rescuing of their own. A local squad says donations and volunteers are at record low levels. Now, it could start charging for services.

The economic crisis is even hitting the heroes. The Forest View Rescue Squad ideally wants twelve volunteers working every night. Hard times have whittled that number down to sometimes just six people. That is forcing the squad to rethink how it works.

By day, these volunteers are normal citizens.

Chief Walter Stephens says, "They're doctors, engineers, medical professionals in other areas."

By night they save lives. The Forest View Rescue Squad is one of the oldest and most decorated groups in the country. For Chesterfield County residents who live along Midlothian Turnpike and even some Richmonders, these are the emergency responders you see when you're sick or hurt. They deal with calls of broken bones to some of the most gruesome traumas.

But now the squad is in trouble. They're facing record low donations and short on volunteers after some of them had to quit in order to take second jobs or work more hours to make ends meet.

Paramedic Eric Edwards says, "If you'd like to provide a service to our agency by volunteering with us, we'lll provide the training and we'll be more flexible on when you're able to pull instead of this very structured timing we've had in the past.

Volunteers will get training on life saving devices and CPR certification.

Edwards says, "We'd really like to reach out to those who'd like to do a different type of community service. It can really be life changing for an individual and life saving for those that they care for."

Right now, you, or your insurance company never have to pay a dime. But if donations don't rebound, the squad could have to start charging for services like most other ambulance companies. It's a last resort, but at this point, a real possibility.

Ordinarily volunteers work every sixth day, but the squad is so desperate they'll adapt schedules to fit the needs of new recruits. 

If you want to sign up or donate money, call 330-2574 or click here to go to their website.

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