Lancaster Co. leaders cut funding for rescue squads - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Lancaster Co. leaders cut funding for rescue squads

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INDIAN LAND, SC (WBTV) -

One of Charlotte's fasting growing suburbs will lose its rescue squad.

When leaders in Lancaster County set this year's fiscal budget they did not include funding for any rescue squads in the county, including Indian Land's.

Founded in 1994, the Indian Land Rescue Squad has been called out to countless emergency situations, but all of that may now be in jeopardy.

Lancaster County leaders decided not to include any funding for the Lancaster and Indian Land Rescue squads.

Both are 100% volunteer squads.

"The rescue squad model just isn't where we need to be as we're moving to a more dense or urban type setting," said Lancaster County Administrator Steve Willis.

Willis says County Fire and EMS departments will now assume responsibilities for Rescue Squad duties which include vehicle extrication and water rescues.

The county has 19 fire and EMS stations, including two in the northern panhandle, in Indian Land and Pleasant Valley.

Willis says the move to phase out the rescue squads being dispatched to emergency situations will improve response times and residents in the county's fasting growing area shouldn't notice any disturbances.

"With any volunteer service, you activate the pager and hope somebody shows up. With the fire service, we know somebody is en route. It's not like we set the pagers off and hope somebody is en route, we know somebody is en route," said Willis.

Indian Land Rescue Squad President Scott Craton says while he expected some funding cuts, he was shocked when he found out the squad wouldn't receive any funding from the county.

While he agrees response times may be faster, he says removing the squad all together isn't the best idea in certain situations.

"I know there's two fire departments up here, but what happens if both fire departments are on a fire and there's a wreck that comes in," asked Craton.

While County leaders have already passed the budget cutting off funds, Craton hopes he can change their minds before the squad is completely phased out.

"We're going to try to meet with county council as a whole squad and hopefully work something out where we'll still be able to respond in the area," said Craton.

County leaders say they hope to have the two rescue squads completely phased out by the end of the year.

Vehicles and equipment purchased over the years for the rescue squad with county funds will be turned over to county emergency management officials once the phase out is complete.

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