An inadequate number of volunteers prompted a decision by the Axton Life Saving Crew’s (ALSC) Board of Directors to cease operations, after more than 30 years of service to the community.
“We’ve always looked to serve the community to the best of our ability – the residents of Axton deserve nothing less. Without an adequate number of volunteers, we fear that we will no longer be able to maintain that standard of excellence,” Janice Agnew, board chairman, said.
The persistent shortage of volunteer members left the agency unable to sustain its provision of EMS contributed to the decision.
“For that reason, we believe it is time to consolidate our resources and support the Henry County Department of Public Safety and other volunteer rescue squads as they prepare to assume this essential responsibility,” she said.
“The volunteers at ALSC are commended for their steadfast dedication over the last 30 years,” said Matt Tatum, director of the Henry County Department of Public Safety. “The ALSC board has historically relied on the county’s career staff and remaining volunteer rescue squads to assist them when they were not able to respond, and they can trust that we will continue to carry on their mission and ensure that the residents of Axton still receive that high level of care.”
Currently, Tatum said the county has enough staff in place to cover the Axton area.
“Obviously, we would love to have additional staffing, but we’ve been answering an overwhelming majority of their calls for quite some time now. It will have very minimal impact from what we’ve seen recently,” he said.
The biggest impact will be the county’s efficiency in responding to calls.
“Obviously, the more people you get helping to provide services, the more efficiently you can operate, and the volunteers are extremely crucial to the success of our system,” Tatum said.
“With that volunteer organization closing, the biggest negative impact is there’s a chance response to calls for service in the Axton area will come from another area of the county, which could cause a delayed response and response time,” he said.
However, “for the most part, we’ve still been able to maintain a pretty good response time for the area because we have career staffing that has been able to pick up the calls when Axton has not been able to do so,” he said.
The ALSC was established in 1992 by a group of volunteers driven by the desire to serve the Axton community, Henry County, and certain areas of Pittsylvania County through emergency medical services (EMS).
The annual funds the squad received from the county for its EMS operations will be divided amongst the other rescue squads and fire departments.