Nelson County, Virginia
A few years ago the Supervisors of Nelson County initiated a plan to provide more support to the rescue squads and fire departments of Nelson County. Historically the County has supported operational funding assistance, and interest free loans for equipment, but never outright provision of capital equipment. Their newest initiative provides one fire department each year and at least one rescue squad substantial assistance with vehicle acquisition.
Faber, Montebello, Lovingston, and Gladstone Fire Departments have new vehicles in service which were nearly paid for in full by the County. These vehicles were ordered specifically to meet the needs of our area. Rockfish Valley Fire Department has a new pumper-tanker on order. In the first year of the program three departments were helped when they decided to acquire “mini-pumpers” which assist them in gaining access to structures with challenging driveways. Collectively these three pieces cost less than one full-sized pumper, hence three purchased at once. Piney River and Wintergreen Fire Department will round out the first round of assistance.
“The ambulances have taken a little longer to replace because the County has encouraged the rescue squads to apply for state grant assistance before encumbering County funds. The Commonwealth of Virginia has a robust assistance fund for these types of projects. Gladstone Fire & Rescue and Nelson County Rescue Squad each have beautiful new ambulances ready to respond to medical emergencies anywhere within the County. According to the Virginia Office of EMS, the average cost of a new ambulance with limited equipment is $195,000. Next to receive ambulances will be Wintergreen Rescue and Roseland Rescue, each of which are in need of a replacement ambulance within the year. Rescue Squads operating in Nelson County keep their ambulances in service for over 10 years. Given the challenges of our terrain and topography, as well as the distance which must be traveled to reach the hospital, a 10-year lifespan shows that solid maintenance plans are in place.
The member agencies of the Nelson County Emergency Services Council wish to extend a sincere ‘Thank You’ to the Supervisors, the County Administrator, and all County Staff who have made this program such a success,”
Chief Sheets said.