Botetourt-CountyThe Fincastle Volunteer Rescue Squad will be merging with the Fincastle Volunteer Fire Department. Officials say the Rescue Squad has faced a decline in volunteers over recent years, and the changes should allow the organization to maintain a high level of service. Continue reading for the full press release.

Full Press Release from Botetourt County

Fincastle, VA — After many years of dedicated service to the citizens in and around the Town of Fincastle, the Fincastle Rescue Squad looks to find new ways to serve the citizens. Since 1979, a group of dedicated volunteers have been working to provide emergency medical services to the citizens and visitors of Fincastle. The squad branched off from the Troutville Rescue Squad in order to ensure that emergency medical care was more closely available to those in north central Botetourt County. As a result of their dedication, the County has been most grateful to the volunteers for their outstanding service throughout the years. Throughout the years, Fincastle Rescue has been a leading contributor to providing services to the community with thousands of calls for service answered since its organization. In recent times, the agency has been working to address a number of challenges. One of the greatest challenges is declining volunteerism nationwide due to several factors, including the need for additional training and time commitments, the economic need to work more and volunteer less, and the aging of the community. Even though it has been able to work through most of these struggles, the organization has seen membership numbers decline to an all-time low as calls for service continue to increase. Organizational leadership has begun looking for change because of those factors. In recent months, discussions have taken place between Fincastle Rescue Squad, Fincastle Fire Department, and the County’s Department of Fire & EMS to look for a better means of providing emergency medical services to the community. Recently, the group has been working in pursuit of a compromise solution for maximum benefit. The Fincastle Fire Department has offered to provide approved firefighters to operate ambulances for the Rescue Squad’s remaining Emergency Medical Technicians. The County will provide oversight of the medical direction and operational licensing moving forward. These changes allow multiple organizations to partner together in order to maintain a high level of service in and around Fincastle. The County will continue to support and supplement the volunteer organizations, which remain a vital piece of fire and rescue services throughout Botetourt. The volunteers provide a great deal of capacity during large or widespread incidents and also assist in standbys and public education and prevention activities.

Throughout this transition, the County will continue to have a high level of service and prompt responses. The career staffing levels in Fincastle allow for an immediate response to EMS calls with other resources available from surrounding stations as necessary. For example, mutual aid agreements with surrounding organizations such as the Eagle Rock Rescue Squad and Roanoke County remain in place to ensure contingency plans are set should the need arise. Moving forward, the leadership of the Fincastle Rescue Squad has started the process to dissolve the incorporation. Since the remaining personnel will be merging with the fire department and the medical licensing will be under the umbrella of the County, there is no longer a need to maintain a separate incorporation. The rescue squad is currently working on a plan for the conveyance of its assets to the fire department and the County to ensure that emergency medical services remain a focus in the Fincastle area. “We’re trying to do what is in the best interest of the public and move forward with a plan that provides better coverage than what EMS volunteers in Fincastle are providing today,” said Tonda Yates, President of Fincastle Rescue. “We’re a big family here and we’re happy to expand that family to incorporate the rescue volunteers that want to serve their community,” said Fincastle Fire Chief Henry Booze. As the Fincastle Rescue Squad moves into its next phase of life, Botetourt County wants to publicly acknowledge all the time and dedication of the current and previous members of squad. The service provided to the citizens and visitors over the years has been nothing short of amazing. To see the volunteers that care so much for their community on the street night and day, away from their families, doing what is in their heart makes Botetourt and Fincastle what it is today. For that, the County is grateful.