Carrsville VFD expands as IOW cuts ties with Franklin

Published 10:04 am Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Full-time fire medic Jeremie Gibbs, left, stands with part-timers Jason Dougherty, a firefighter in Virginia Beach and Cliff Carr, a firefighter and EMT in Windsor, in front of an ambulance loaned to Carrsville from the Isle of Wight Rescue Squad. Dale Liesch | Tidewater News

CARRSVILLE—The Carrsville Volunteer Fire Department is evolving.

For at least 20 years, the department has relied on Franklin Fire and Rescue to transport patients to the hospital from the scene of an emergency, but that all will change at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1.

CVFD has hired two full-time medics and 30-40 part-time medics to man its 24-hour ambulance service.

“The main purpose is to better serve the southern end of Isle of Wight County by providing additional medic services,” said Deputy Fire Chief Devin Butler. “We’ll also be taking a load off of Franklin. It’s a win-win situation.”

Another reason for the switch is cost. Franklin was going to charge Isle of Wight County more for providing rescue services, said Isle of Wight Emergency Services Chief Rusty Chase.

Since 2005, Franklin had only charged Isle of Wight County whatever amount a patient’s insurance didn’t cover, said Chase. Charges totaled $11,000 to $15,000 each year.

Franklin planned to begin charging Isle of Wight about $190,000 for transportation of patients. Chase said $170,000 of that would have helped pay for additional medics to help deal with an increase in the number of calls. The other $20,000 would have been put into a capital improvement fund for Franklin Fire and Rescue.

Vince Holt, Franklin’s chief of emergency services, said his department’s calls will be reduced by about 300 a year.

“It’s a service we’ve been providing for years,” Holt said. “Due to staffing, it was getting to the point where we were going to miss a call in Franklin because we were in Isle of Wight County.”

Chase said Franklin’s calls in IOW had increased from 147 in 2002 to 360 in 2010. Franklin would still be available to help the county on larger calls, he said.

In addition to the medic staff now at CVFD, the department will be able to offer additional EMT training, which Chase believes will be a good recruiting tool.

“We view this as a great opportunity to recruit people who live in the southern part of the county,” Chase said.

The department can now offer up to EMT-I training, which allows for the same duties as a paramedic but with permission from a hospital.