West Virginia Rescue Squad Needs Volunteers

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PENDLETON COUNTY, W.Va. (WHSV) -- EMTs usually respond to calls for help, but now some of them in one part of West Virginia are asking for help.

"[The Pendleton County Rescue Squad has] a total membership of about 135 indviduals," said Mike Alt, a volunteer with the Upper Tract station of the Pendleton County Rescue. "Out of those 135, daytime coverage has become, pretty much dwindled to the point where we're needing more volunteers...."

While 135 people may sound like a lot, but for Pendleton County, it takes many people to run a volunteer rescue squad.

"People work six days a week, that one day free with their families they don't always devote it always to the rescue squad," Alt says. "[...] Most of them, their heart is into the rescue squad, however they still got their families which is usually their first priority."

Alt says that the amount of time that their calls take can hinder volunteers.

"It was something that i was concerned about," says Skinner Hendrick of getting to the hospital quickly. Hendrick was born in Upper Tract and moved back in 2002 after living in San Francisco.

"Living in the bigger cities, you're closer," Hedrick said. "And coming back here and getting to the hospital is a big concern for a lot of people, especially as you get older."

A trip to a Petersburg hospital from Upper Tract can take about 30 minutes. But to Harrisonburg, it can take over 1 hour. According to Alt, round trips, with all of their work, can take up to four hours.

But that didn't stop Hedrick.

"It was home and i wanted to come home and you have your pluses and your minuses and things you just have to sacrifice to do it." Hedrick said.

But Alt says the almost 5 month long EMT training holds people back or people, espcially young ones, leave the area.

"They've got jobs," Alt says. "They start seeing other things away from here and there's not an infrastructure to bring them back."

While alt says they are trying to recruit hopefully the familiar sound of the ambulance sirens will be a call to duty.