When career fire and EMS crews in Patrick County start responding to calls later this month, their mission is twofold, Patrick County Emergency Services Coordinator Steve Allen said.
“Number one, they will be helping residents, and number two, they will be helping volunteers,” Allen said, adding career staff will help both rescue and fire volunteers. “If everything goes according to plan, they will start responding to calls on Feb. 20.”
Then, Ashley Trent and Sarah Still are the two full-time crew members scheduled to answer calls, Allen said.
He noted the career crews will respond to calls in an ambulance donated to the county by the Vesta Volunteer Rescue Squad. It has been re-lettered and now reads: Patrick County Fire & EMS.
There are eight full-time and nine part-time staff, Allen said, adding all were volunteers with various emergency services agencies.
In addition to Trent and Still, full time career staff includes Lemont Bryant, Ross Adams, Eddie Hartman, Carl Smith, Joe Ingram and Daniel Bryant, according to Allen.
Part-timers include Corey Scearce, Eric Clark, Matthew Stanley, Erica Cipko, Kenneth Brady, Audra Thomas, Connie Goode, Howard Alderman and Jason Felts, according to Allen.
Six of the full-time crew members are residents of Patrick County; two live in Henry County, he said. Allen added that two others live in Surry and Carroll counties, and one lives in the City of Danville.
Some of the new hires left paid positions with other agencies to serve residents here, Allen said, citing examples that include Lemont Bryant, who was employed by the City of Martinsville; Hartman, of Henry County Public Safety; and Trent, of LifeCare.
A three-person committee interviewed applicants on February 11 by, Allen said, adding the committee was comprised of Rodney Howell, retired Public Safety director of Henry County; William Crigger, a supervisor with Surry County EMS and volunteer; and Patrick County’s medical director, Dr. Jason Edsall.
The trio ensured background checks, driving history/records and drug screenings also were conducted that day as they matched applicants to the available positions, Allen said. Each applicant also was measured for a uniform to save return trips by those selected for the posts.
Those selected were required to complete additional training, with classes held for more than a week, Allen said.
In a surprise vote at their Nov. 20 meeting, the Patrick County Board of Supervisors narrowly approved the addition of career crews, at an estimated annual cost of $411,679 to $412,323, according to previous reports.