Supervisors set meeting with New Market volunteers

Shenandoah County supervisors plan to hold a special meeting Aug. 25 to talk about New Market Fire and Rescue’s state license.

Board of Supervisors Chairman David Ferguson announced the called meeting in a memo to other members Thursday – two days after they learned that state emergency medical services officials would likely not renew New Market Fire and Rescue’s EMS license. The purpose of the meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 25 is to discuss emergency medical services with the New Market Fire and Rescue. The meeting will take place shortly before the board’s regular meeting at 7 p.m.

Reached by phone Friday, Ferguson said he had not yet spoken to anyone affiliated with New Market Fire and Rescue.

“Maybe it might be a little premature to do that … let New Market Fire and Rescue have an opportunity to get together and discuss the issue that has been presented to them by county administration and we’ll get together on the 25th and have an open discussion,” Ferguson said.

County administration would be responsible for contacting the volunteer organization regarding the special meeting, Ferguson said.

The volunteer organization faced losing its EMS license Friday. State officials in charge of issuing and renewing licenses claimed Tuesday that the organization failed repeatedly to report its EMS response data as required. However, officials said they likely wouldn’t renew the license even if the organization complied with the requirement because the county’s paid responders were handling almost all calls for the station. Representatives of the organization refuted claims they weren’t complying with the license requirements. At least two representatives of the volunteer group said county officials did not alert them that the board would discuss the license matter at its Tuesday meeting.

Asked what he hoped to see come from the meeting, Ferguson said license issue remains in the hands of the medical director and state officials, not the county or the volunteer group.

“I would want a healthy, active volunteer rescue squad serving the citizens of New Market,” Ferguson added. “That’s what I would like the outcome to be. Will it be? I guess that’s yet to be determined.”

The county, through its paid responders, provides basically all the manpower for emergency medical services in New Market and that will continue, Ferguson said. The community would not experience any disruption in service, he noted.

“I think the real problem is the operation of the agency in New Market – can they put together what’s necessary, from an organizational standpoint, to correct the deficiencies that have been outlined by the state and the medical director so that they can come into compliance,” Ferguson said. “Then can they grow their staff from a volunteer pool to provide the services that the medical director has kind of outlined for us that are necessary for them to stay under his license.

“The county will provide any assistance we can from a training perspective,” Ferguson added. “We will provide assistance in making sure the station is fully manned.”

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com