Squad official says complaints fixed

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 12, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Complaints filed against the Bennett’s Creek Volunteer Rescue Squad that have been under state investigation have been resolved, a squad official says.

A recent inspection by the state’s Department of Emergency Services identified two problem areas, said Chief Sean Edmondson. The check-ups were made after the state received several anonymous tips.

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One complaint centered on an ambulance driver who didn’t have the proper certification to be behind the wheel, Edmondson said, adding that the other concern was a loose piece of equipment in a supervisor’s vehicle.

&uot;That (the loose equipment) has since been fixed,&uot; he said.

Edmondson said the driver in question has been on a leave of absence for the past six months to attend college. He is a certified emergency officer and is an active member of the volunteer squad at Virginia Tech.

&uot;We just need to get a copy of the right certificate,&uot; Edmondson said

Although state officials acknowledged the investigation, they would not comment on it. Efforts to confirm through the state that specific complaints have been resolved were unsuccessful.

&uot;This has not impacted servicing,&uot; Edmondson said.

Over the last week, the squad has been moving the operational portion of its services into the new northern Suffolk Public Safety Center. Its administrative operations will continue to be handled from the former building on Bennett’s Pasture Road.

Assistant City Manager Rohlf agreed, saying the city is working with Bennett’s Creek to ensure that service to the rapidly growing northern Suffolk area is not impacted.

The city pays a part-time crew to man the rescue squad during the day. Volunteers take over from 6 p.m. until the following morning.

&uot;Our main concern is making sure calls are be responded to in a timely manner and that we are not losing anything in terms of service,&uot; Rohlf said.

Service is not a problem, as the fire department has trained advance-life support paramedics on staff 24 hours a day to respond when Bennett’s Creek doesn’t have the manpower or is already out on a call, she said.