CAROLINE CROSSROADS Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.
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Caroline will charge for EMS standby service

The Caroline County Board of Supervisors approved a new policy that would allow the Fire and Rescue department to charge for certain events that request emergency medical personnel to be on standby.

The policy was approved unanimously Tuesday night as a consent agenda item and would allow the Fire-EMS department to charge $100 an hour or any part of an hour for events that request dedicated standby service. The policy calls for a minimum charge of two hours.

Fire-EMS Chief Jason Loftus said dedicated EMS standby service is when an assigned ambulance crew will remain at the site for the entirety of the event unless there is an emergency in the county that requires a full-scale response.

Events that are for-profit—for example, the mixed martial arts fights at the Virginia Sports Complex in Ruther Glen or a rodeo event at the Meadow Event Park—would be billed under this policy if they were to reserve an ambulance crew. In previous years, Caroline EMS has provided such services free.

“Providing them at no cost in the past has increased the department’s overtime expenditures when off-duty career crews are utilized,” Loftus said. “While the county is stepping up its efforts to enlist volunteer crews to man the standby crews, it is becoming increasingly difficult to locate available volunteer personnel.

“Even if a volunteer crew is available, the county still incurs costs for gasoline, wear and tear on the vehicle, equipment and volunteer insurance.”

Special events such as high school football games and community festivals would still receive standby service, but would not be charged upon request of the supervisors. Nonprofit groups could also receive a waiver from the fee.

Loftus said that there is still no fee for non-dedicated EMS standby service as long as the event is open to the public, does not charge an admission fee, has more than 500 attendees and lasts more than four hours or is considered a high-risk activity.

Any organization or government entity requesting either standby service must complete an agreement, which is available at the Community Services Center, and return it at least 96 hours prior to the start of the event or 10 days prior if it is an event lasting more than one day. If the application deadline is not met, there will be an additional $150 fee, according to the policy.