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BY PORTSIA SMITH
Caroline County officials have shut the doors of the Frog Level Volunteer Rescue Squad after 30 years of service.
The squad's funding and equipment was pulled after a closed-door discussion by the Caroline County Board of Supervisors Tuesday night. In announcing the vote Tuesday, the board said only that it had approved a recommendation by Fire-EMS Chief Jason Loftus for a disciplinary action under personnel involving the Frog Level squad; it did not offer any specifics.
County Administrator Charles Culley announced the closure Thursday morning after being asked by a reporter for more details on the board's decision.
"This action comes after a careful review of the facts over a significant period of time," Culley said. "It is a very difficult decision to close a rescue squad that has taken great pride in serving its neighbors for many years.
Culley said the county had no choice because of the squad's continued lack of active membership, combined with an inability of some volunteers to meet standards and provide fundamental leadership and discipline. A representative from the rescue squad could not be reached for comment Thursday.
"The county does not believe it is getting a sufficient return on its investment in the form of service to the public to warrant continued funding of the squad," Culley said. "We are hopeful these deficiencies can be addressed in the future."
The Frog Level Volunteer Rescue Squad opened in 1982 as the third medical emergency team in Caroline. The aim was to aid squads in Bowling Green and Ladysmith and reduce response times in the southern part of the county.
Culley said that emergency services in the Frog Level area would not be impacted by the decision to close the rescue squad.
Loftus said the squad had received only 24 calls since January of this year and had fewer than 10 volunteers.
"The county has provided emergency medical services from the nearby Frog Level Volunteer Fire Department for some time through a combination of career staff and volunteers and will continue to do so in the future," Culley said. "Citizens will see no drop-off in service as a result of this action.
"Active volunteers from Frog Level Volunteer Rescue Squad will be absorbed into the county system at other locations."
Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419