Concerns Rising Over Emergency Response Times for Fire/EMS in Churchville, Virginia
Photo Credit: Churchville-Volunteer-Fire-Rescue
Written by: Sam Orlando
Augusta County, VA - Local resident and advocate for increased EMS funding, Stephen Morris, recently raised concerns over the emergency response times for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in Augusta County, Virginia. In a series of social media posts, Morris highlighted a specific incident where it took an extended amount of time for EMS to arrive at the scene.
On February 20th, a call was placed from Jennings Gap Road at 12:53 pm. Churchville Rescue, en route from Augusta Health, was dispatched at 12:56 pm, while Staunton Augusta was dispatched at 12:57 pm. Both units arrived on location at 1:16 pm, taking over 23 minutes to reach the scene. Morris argued that if additional staff had been available at Churchville Fire, help could have arrived within 5 minutes, potentially making a difference in administering life-saving drugs to the patient sooner.
Morris also pointed out that Churchville Fire only has two paid staff members working 24/7, responsible for both fire and EMS calls. This means that if they are out on a call, there may not be anyone available to respond to a subsequent call. The situation is similar in Deerfield, which has only one ambulance, and Craigsville, where two staff members operate just one ambulance. When these units are out on calls, they may be out of their primary coverage areas for up to three hours, relying on secondary units to respond to any new calls.
According to Morris, Churchville has two ambulances, and if extra staff were added, they would be ready to respond to any secondary calls. He emphasized that adding two extra staff members at Churchville would not significantly impact Augusta County's budget but could potentially save lives and property.
In the comments on his post, another user, Penny Wood, expressed her frustration with the long wait times when calling 911 for fire, EMS, or law enforcement, pointing out that minutes can feel like hours when in need of emergency assistance.
Morris urged the Board of Supervisors to take responsibility for providing better service to the citizens of Augusta County, demanding "much better service to these citizens". With growing concern over response times and the potential impact on lives and property, it remains to be seen whether the BOS will take action to address these issues.