09 December 2014
Fluvanna County does not have adequate rescue coverage, members of the Fluvanna Fire & Rescue Association (FRA) told the Board of Supervisors Wednesday night (Dec. 3).
Because of the seriousness of this situation, supervisors voted to hire a second contract crew to cover the county every night from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
When County Administrator Steve Nichols asked members of FRA whether the county, as distinguished from Lake Monticello, had adequate rescue service, his answer was a resounding “no.”
“Most nights we’re the only ambulance in Fluvanna County,” said Joe Orsolini, chief of Lake Monticello Rescue. Given the size of the county, response times can be as long as 30 minutes.
Currently Fluvanna Rescue only has five members, fire and rescue personnel said. And no matter how diligent five people are, that’s not enough to run a rescue organization.
Increasingly strict certification requirements are part of the problem, Orsolini said. It takes 186 hours of training, he said, plus six months of precepting before a volunteer can run calls. And finding people willing or able to donate that kind of time is becoming increasingly difficult.
The immediate solution, said Len Bozza, president of the Lake Monticello Volunteer Fire Department & Rescue Squad, is to hire another contract crew to run in the county at night. Currently a University of Virginia contract crew called Medic V operates in the county each day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cheyenne Hackett, a member of Fluvanna Rescue and Fluvanna Fire Company 2 (Fork Union), predicted that as soon as paid staff arrived the volunteers would quit. “They’ll think, ‘Okay, they don’t need me,’” she said.