01/04/05 — Duplin cuts rescue squads' contributions

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Duplin cuts rescue squads' contributions

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on January 4, 2005 1:58 PM

KENANSVILLE -- The Duplin County commissioners have cut the monthly contribution to volunteer rescue squads in half.

The volunteer squads used to receive almost $850 from the county each month. After the commissioners' vote Monday morning, each of the seven volunteer squads will receive $400 a month.

Magnolia was the only volunteer squad that had a problem with the reduction, EMS Director Curtis Brock told commissioners before the vote. That squad wants more money, he said, but the other squads are OK with the reduction.

The county is moving from volunteer-run emergency medical services to paid staff due a drop in the number of volunteers. The volunteer squads provide back-up to the county as "second responders" to emergency calls, and the county's paid emergency medical technicians are taking the first-responder calls.

The county provides the volunteer squads with gas, vehicle maintenance and all the equipment they need. Some squads, like Faison, Pleasant Grove and Rose Hill, have been taking every emergency call that the dispatcher sends to them, said Brock. But the Rose Hill volunteers have told Brock they don't know if they will be able to continue taking second calls much longer.

Some volunteer squads have not been taking the second calls dispatched to them. For that reason, Brock recommended that the county deduct $25 from a volunteer squad's monthly contribution for each time a second-responder call is unanswered.

"It is not fair for each squad to receive the same base pay unless they are responding to their own calls," said Brock in his written recommendation to the county.