City, volunteers to work on rescue system

City, volunteers to work on rescue system

More than a month after the city announced it would spend nearly $1 million on two new ambulances and staff for its own emergency-rescue system, city officials are saying the money may instead be spent for system-wide improvements. After much public bluster about the budget item for ambulance services being put in “under the radar,” city officials are calling for an oversight committee to direct the $1 million, approved with the overall budget April 10.

Larry Claytor, president of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad, says his organization will play a role in a new oversight committee that will decide next steps for the area’s emergency-rescue network.

Mayor David Brown says, “We hope to have a jointly appointed committee,” to include members from City Council, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, state legislator David Toscano and rescue officials from the city, county and Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad (CARS). The committee would also seek input from Scottsville and Rivanna emergency volunteers.

“Rather than the city just moving forward on our own…let’s make it a more system-type discussion,” says Brown.

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A study of the fire system was recently released by the city and county. Following interviews with personnel and analysis of response-time data, consultants established that the fire and rescue systems in the region should not be consolidated. The study also recommended a “multi-agency steering committee.”

CARS President Larry Claytor, an opponent of a new city system for emergency medical services, says he’s hopeful that CARS can weigh in with other officials to reach a solution. “We feel like it’s going to be a reasonable thing and not just the city pushing their agenda. …Hopefully we can get to the bottom of this.”

Brown says the committee will be formed as soon as possible. He hopes for recommendations by the end of the summer.

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