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Albemarle County Fire Rescue begins staffing, operational adjustments to improve system

albemarle countyAlbemarle County Fire Rescue is now operating a medic unit from the Stony Point Volunteer Fire Station.

This paramedic level ambulance is cross-staffed by a career crew Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Cross-staffing is when the crew assigned to the station takes the most appropriate apparatus for the emergency.

“If the crew receives a call for a medical emergency, they will take the medic unit to provide care and transport to the hospital,” says David Puckett, deputy chief for operations. “The cross-trained crew will take the fire engine if there is a need for fire suppression.”

Historically, while Stony Point Volunteer Fire Department has provided first response to medical emergencies, they were unable to provide transport, relying on an ambulance from the Pantops area.

The medic unit at Stony Point Volunteer Fire Department is the first change in Albemarle County Fire Rescue operations under the staffing plan approved by the Board of Supervisors during the FY21 budget process.

“Albemarle County prioritized investments in supporting a comprehensive and efficient Fire Rescue service. As the Board of Supervisors revisited the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget in response to an anticipated decrease in revenues due to the COVID-19 crisis, ensuring our community’s public health and safety infrastructure was supported appropriately as a top priority.” says Ned Gallaway, chair of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. “The safety and well-being of our community will always be of the upmost importance to Albemarle County.”

In total, 12 positions were approved. In addition to the medic unit at Stony Point, a crew of career Firefighter/EMTs will be placed in Crozet starting in September to be in service Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

These operational changes will improve overall system response times.

A series of recruit schools are underway to hire and train staff for these positions. The first of the schools graduated on June 25. The second school began its 24-week program on Monday, July 6.

The third school is scheduled to begin in January.

augusta free press
augusta free press