Christiansburg Fire Company to stop coverage at year-end


CHRISTIANSBURG — The Christiansburg Fire Company is suspending EMS service at the end of the year.

The officers of the Christiansburg Fire Company posted the following message to the Fire Company’s Facebook page on Sunday, Nov. 26:

“The officers of the Christiansburg Fire Company would like to inform everyone that effective Dec. 31, 2023, we will unfortunately be suspending our EMS service and coverage. This decision has not been taken lightly. We have been honored to provide EMS service to the citizens of Jackson and Lostcreek Townships along with the village of Christiansburg since 1958. Our ambulance/EMS service is one of the oldest, continuous services provided by a fire department in the area. We take great pride in providing both fire and EMS coverage to our communities and helping our neighbors, friends, and families during some of their most difficult situations.

“As many of you know, we are an ALL-volunteer member organization. Our members receive no pay for any calls they make nor for any training courses or meetings they attend. All money received by the Fire Company, through tax levies or donations, is used for the purchase of equipment and supplies, the maintenance of our equipment and buildings, and our monthly utilities and expenses.

“The volunteer model has worked for many years, but over the past few years, our membership has slowly decreased as has the memberships in others clubs and organizations. With that, fewer members means fewer people to help, resulting in slower response times, and having to rely on mutual aid to help make the EMS calls.

“In early 2021, we sent out a letter explaining our situation and asking for anyone who thought they could help make fire or EMS calls to join. Thankfully, this resulted in two individuals stepping forward to join. Unfortunately, only one of those is currently a certified EMT (emergency medical technician). Operating an EMS service, either volunteer or paid, requires several certified EMT’s to maintain a medic and provide continuous coverage. Two certified EMTs are required on each call to make a transport to the hospital. Currently, we have six EMTs who respond to calls, IF they are available; and two of those are over 70 years old.

“A few years ago, JSP (St. Paris EMS) began being simultaneously dispatched on all or our EMS calls in case we did not have enough personnel to make the call. This meant our communities were getting EMS coverage without any delay. A few months ago, JSP notified us they would no longer be providing us with their full time/paid EMS crew, due to the fact that helping us on our calls was making it difficult at times to cover their contracted areas effectively. However, they would provide us with some volunteer EMTs IF available. We felt this was the same volunteer model as we currently have and could not guarantee that we would have enough personnel to make a call. Because of not having enough EMTs on our department, we notified Jackson and Lostcreek Townships and the village of Christiansburg in early October, that we would not be renewing our EMS contracts for the year 2024.

“We have been working with both townships and the village council to help them get EMS coverage for 2024 and will support and assist whoever is contracted to cover EMS in these areas in whatever way possible. We have also been guiding and informing the trustees and council on how EMS coverage is handled in many rural communities. Almost every area in this state has tax levies that support some type of paid/full time EMS coverage for their community. Any of the tax levies currently in place in our coverage area do not provide enough funds to support full time EMS at this time. We are currently working to find a more permanent solution to hopefully bring an EMS service, operated by the Christiansburg Fire Company, back to the communities we serve that will pay two EMTs that will cover 24 hours a day seven days a week.

“We want to thank the JSP Fire District and their EMT members for helping make calls during these past few years. We also want to thank both the Jackson and Lostcreek Township Trustees and the village of Christiansburg Council for their understanding and support during this change. The Christiansburg Fire Company will continue to provide fire coverage to the Jackson and Lostcreek Townships and the village of Christiansburg along with Elizabeth Township and on all of our mutual aid calls.

“We are all proud members of these communities and want to say thank you for all your support. We look forward to continuing providing services to our neighbors, family, and friends like we have since 1948,” concluded the post.

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