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Nickelsville Rescue Squad reports financial progress

Holly Viers • Updated Feb 12, 2018 at 9:28 AM

GATE CITY — The Nickelsville Rescue Squad is in better financial shape than it was a month ago, but that hasn’t come without a different kind of cost.

At last month’s meeting of the Scott County Board of Supervisors, concerns were raised over whether the squad could operate within its budget. Since then, it has reduced payroll costs by cutting hours, but doing so has caused the squad to miss more emergency calls.

What’s happened since last month?

As of Wednesday, the squad had $12,768 in its payroll account, according to Capt. Anthony Buckner, compared to the roughly $7,000 it had in the account last month.

Buckner said the monetary growth is partly due to the increased amount of insurance payments the agency has received from working calls and partly because he has cut shifts.

“What we had done when we opened back up in September up until December is we were essentially providing 24-hour coverage. It wasn’t always paid 24-hour coverage, but we had 24-hour coverage,” Buckner said. “We had 12-hour shifts, which as we saw over three months, was costly. So then we cut back.”

The squad first tried 10-hour shifts Monday through Thursday and, as Buckner expected, missed 17 calls as a result. Now, he said, the organization will try eight-hour shifts, seven days a week.

What’s next?

Buckner said he feels better about the squad and its operations, and an event is in the works for next month to recruit more volunteers.

Because the squad won’t be staffed at all times, BOS Chairman David Redwine asked Buckner to communicate its schedule to Central Dispatch and the other Scott County rescue squads so that emergency calls can be answered in a more timely manner.

“If they already knew that you all didn’t have a crew in place, they wouldn’t have to page you three times; they could go on and move on to the next unit,” Redwine said. “It’s going to take a little bit of time, and it’s going to really take some communication between you all, Central Dispatch or the other units, but we need to know upfront what your schedule is.”

Buckner will present another report to the BOS in April, which will determine if the squad can be taken off probation.

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