Rescue Squad Needs

By: Danielle Banks
By: Danielle Banks

With time running out, the squad is anxious to meet their goal. If they don't it could mean selling their assets or relying on the city. Both of which, could directly affect you.

Seventy volunteers work to keep the Harrisonburg Rescue Squad going. Vice President Steve Higgins says, "We do save the city a lot of money in that they don't have to pay staff to operate the rescue squad."

The squad needs $300,000 a year to operate. Why so much? They estimate that if you were required to pay for a your own emergency call, like some other localities are required to do, it would cost you $250.00. And that basic call can quickly jump up to $600.00 if you needed to have advanced life support.

Higgins says, "Harrisonburg is unique in it's size. The number of calls that we run on a volunteer basis and that we have no paid staff in the rescue squad at all."

The squad is getting $2 million to go towards its new facility. But the money only goes towards the building, not towards operations.

Higgins continues, "There's really no way that we could lower our operational budget and still provide quality service to the citizens in the community."

The volunteers need the funds so they can keep doing what they do best, saving lives. Higgins says, "We wanna be able to maintain the levels of training within the squad and that costs a lot of money for books and classes and such. We also want to be able to maintain the equipment very well so that when we arrive on scene and we're able to be very efficient."

He says sacrificing services to the public won't be an option. "Quality service in the volunteer rescue squad is a given. If we're not providing quality service we're putting people's lives at risk.", says Higgins.

Right now the squad has enough money to last them through the end of this year. If it doesn't receive more donations, it will dip into reserve funds before asking for help from the city.

50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

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