Martinsville Fire & EMS would like more money to fund paramedic positions

Martinsville Fire & EMS would like more money to fund paramedic positions. (WSET)

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WSET) -- When you dial 911, you want the closest first responders to answer the call, but that may not always be the case for one local agency.

Martinsville Fire and EMS Chief and Fire Marshal Ted Anderson Jr. said they would like to put more employees in ambulance seats, but that may not be in the cards any time soon.

In a previous budget meeting Martinsville Mayor Gene Teague posed a question to departments within the city. He asked them if their departments had more money, how would they serve the citizens better?

Anderson and his department came up with bringing on board two more paramedics to run their third ambulance. It would cost around an extra $110,000 a year.

"We thought about getting our third ambulance in service and actually covering calls that they are missing," Chief Anderson said.

On average, he estimates they can't make it to 15-20 calls a month. Those calls still get covered, just not always by them.

"We have a great mutual aid agreement with a private ambulance service and if they're not able to cover it, it can also be covered by a volunteer agency in Henry County Public Safety," Chief Anderson said.

He said he's happy with their agreement, but they would like their department to respond to all of the calls they receive and they are actually losing $75,000 a year by not being able to respond internally.

"I think it would be a worthwhile expenditure, but the money is just not there," said Martinsville City Mayor, Gene Teague. "Any incremental funds that we provide to any department, has to come from somewhere else or we'd have to take it from fund balance, or we'd have to identify another revenue stream."

Teague explained even though he posed the question, it probably is not in the budget.

"It is tight and if it doesn't happen, we'll continue to service citizens the way that we have been servicing and you know we provide a great service," Chief Anderson added.

Martinsville Fire and EMS is expected to receive around $2 Million for the 2019 fiscal year budget.

About $12,000 of that will go towards paying part-time firefighters to work more.

They are hiring, if you're interested in applying to be a firefighter, you can do so online here.

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