The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Caroline approves EMS fee
BY PORTSIA SMITH
The Caroline County Board of Supervisors has approved a new policy that would allow the Fire and Rescue department to charge a fee to keep emergency medical personnel on standby for certain events.
The policy was approved unanimously Tuesday night as a consent agenda item and would allow the Fire–EMS department to charge $100 an hour for events that request dedicated standby service.
The policy calls for a minimum charge of two hours and a full hourly charge for any part of additional hours.
Fire–EMS Chief Jason Loftus said dedicated EMS standby service means 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 free at supervisors’ request. Nonprofit groups could also receive a waiver.
Loftus said there will still be 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 submit an agreement form at least 96 hours prior to the start of the single-day 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.
The agreement forms are available at the Community Services Center.
Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419