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BY PORTSIA SMITH
Caroline County Fire-EMS Chief Jason Loftus is drafting a policy that would allow the department to charge when emergency medical personnel are on standby for certain events.
The Caroline County Board of Supervisors gave Loftus the authority Tuesday night to draft the policy, which could charge $100 an hour or any part of an hour for events that request dedicated EMS standby service.
Loftus said dedicated EMS standby service is when an assigned ambulance crew remains 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.
After Loftus completes the draft of the policy, it will go to the supervisors for approval.
Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419