Strasburg volunteers want to resume service, concede they will need help
By Elizabeth Wilkerson -- firstname.lastname@example.org
STRASBURG -- Representatives of the Strasburg Volunteer Rescue Squad want to sit down with town and county officials to work on a plan for providing emergency medical services in northern Shenandoah County.
At Tuesday's meeting of the Board of Supervisors' public safety and code committee, squad President Doug Mowery Jr. said the organization, which wants to resume its service, had a roster for the next two months. The squad realizes it will still need "24/7" help from the county, because "we always have that second and third call," he said.
The squad would like to meet with representatives of the Board of Supervisors, Strasburg Town Council and Shenandoah County Department of Fire and Rescue to try to form a plan for providing EMS coverage that will be best for the county, he said.
"We have some ideas, but we feel that if we all sit down at the same table, we feel it would be better," he said.
And, the squad is interested in trying to get the merger meetings with Strasburg's fire department started again, he said.
"We want to get out and help in the community," Mowery said. "We wanted to work on any differences or any kind of problems, work on them along the way, but let's get them moving."
District 5 Supervisor Dennis Morris said having a plan from the organization would "go a long ways." District 6 Supervisor Conrad Helsley said he would attend the meeting Mowery suggested, and he thought Strasburg Mayor Tim Taylor would, as well.
On April 14, the Board of Supervisors voted to shut down the squad for consistently failing to provide enough volunteers to run emergency calls. On the same day, the county filed a complaint in Shenandoah County Circuit Court asking that the squad's assets be handed over to the county and a receiver be appointed for them.
In May, the board approved a resolution that county attorneys "nonsuit -- but not dismiss" the complaint. The resolution said any organization, including the shuttered squad, could make proposals on providing "reliable" EMS service.
A list of discussion points presented to Mowery by county officials Tuesday outlines what the county is looking for in a proposal from the squad.
Officials would like to see, in writing, a duty roster of active providers and their training credentials; a roster of the agency's officers and their responsibilities; a duty roster that identifies when coverage will be guaranteed and a plan to ensure that coverage will be maintained; and what kind of financial help, insurance, and career staff support the EMS agency would expect from county government. The county is also looking for short- and long-term action plans from the organization.
On Thursday, Mowery said he hadn't yet "digested" all of what the county is looking for in a coverage proposal, but "a lot of the things ... we were already working on."
"I think with this meeting that we're having, it can be explained further and we can work on it," he said. Officials are looking at the middle of September, but a meeting date has not yet been set, he said.
At that meeting, the group will "hopefully formulate a workable plan that's agreeable to all parties," he said.
"We want it to be good for the community," he said. "That's the main thing."
Staff writer Sally Voth contributed to this story.