Altavista EMS to permanently close Friday

ALTAVISTA, Va. (WSET) - The lifesaving and first aid crew that's served the town of Altavista since 1946 is suddenly closing. Altavista EMS will close its doors permanently at noon on Friday.

The operational medical doctor suddenly resigned this week. ABC13 is told in order for an EMS crew to legally operate, they must have one, and since they're unable to find a replacement, they have to stop operating.

That means 10 people will lose their jobs. There are also more than 30 volunteers who will need to look elsewhere.

Deputy Chief Hope Meeks has been a part of Altavista EMS for 27 years. She says the crew is a second family that loves serving the community.

And while Meeks has no doubt that Campbell County will help take care of the citizens in the town, she wishes something could be done "It's heartbreaking," Meeks said. "When you've been doing this as long as I have and you see a different ambulance come in and knowing that it's something that you used to do, it's... I love helping people... and each and everyone of these guys loves helping people."

According to Tracy Fairchild, the Director of Campbell County Public Safety, the county is prepared to answer all service calls in that area. "The Campbell County Department of Public Safety is and always has been committed to ensuring the health and safety of the citizens in the area that Altavista EMS serves," Fairchild said in a statement.

Fairchild says the public shouldn't see a difference in service.

The county attorney says that the community is not at risk or in any danger. He says Campbell County Public Safety has a plan and will take over all the calls to Altavista.

Meeks says the Chief is out searching for a last minute operational medical doctor to take over.

If one is not found Altavista EMS will cease answering emergency calls at noon on Friday.

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