Rescue agencies to merge

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 29, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

The Driver Volunteer Fire Department and Bennett’s Creek Volunteer Rescue Squad are hoping to begin operating as a single department by the end of February, said one official.

Committees of members from both organizations are meeting weekly to determine the best structure and guidelines for merging the two groups, said Driver Fire Chief Steve Moody.

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The merger, which the boards of both volunteer agencies supported unanimously, will help provide more efficient service to the rapidly growing Driver community.

&uot;The whole idea is to us to help serve the public better,&uot; said Fred Callis, chairman of the DVFD’s board of directors. &uot;We all voted to move forward to make this happen.&uot;

Moody agreed, saying it would also bring greater stability to both organizations.

It will also make it easier for both departments to accomplish Fire Chief Mark Outlaw’s target 5 minute response time for all emergency situations.

&uot;I think it will probably put us right in the ballpark,&uot; said Moody.

The rescue squad is operating out of the recently opened North Suffolk Public Safety Center.

Even after the merger, the rescue squad will continue to run one ambulance out of that facility, said Lake Critzer, the Bennett’s Creek squad president.

Suffolk officials will add a bay at Driver’s fire station with the next couple of years to house rescue vehicles, Moody said.

It will also help the troubled the Bennett’s Creek group, which has suffered from internal problems and loss of volunteers, particularly over the past couple of years.