LETTER — Cumberland should rethink EMS decision

Published 12:16 pm Wednesday, May 5, 2021

To the Editor:

I read with interest and alarm your report on “Big fire and EMS changes coming” by Alexa Massey in the April 30 edition of The Farmville Herald.

Of particular concern to myself, and I would imagine my fellow residents in the southern area of the county, is the new mutual aid agreement that ceases the response by Prince Edward Volunteer Rescue Squad, (PEVRS) to our end of the county.

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While I understand the desire to put everything under one umbrella, that being Cumberland Fire and EMS, and I agree that routing calls through Cumberland makes sense, to manage and track response the decision to not have this area covered by PEVRS as first due responders does not.

A quick Google search indicates a minimum drive time of 19 minutes from the station in Cumberland at 38 Firehouse Road. Conversely, a 13-minute drive time from the PEVRS station is indicated. Keep in mind, these are drive times, not response times.

In the October 2018 study by the Virginia Fire Services Board to Cumberland County, in the Theme 5 section titled “Delivery of Services,” the reference is made to NFPA and states: “Cumberland County however is considered a rural area which according to NFPA 1720 must have at least six volunteer members available to respond to an incident within 14 minutes of dispatch.”

As everyone knows, in a life threating situation minutes count and can be the difference between life and death. While Assistant Fire Chief Eagles states in your article that “he is confident … and will be able to refine response times in the coming years,” I would prefer not be a part of this statistics study.

I would ask the county to rethink this decision to not have PEVRS, designated as first due to the southern area of the county, and take Deanna Jones, director of PEVRS up on their offer as stated in your report that, “ We would be happy to continue this service should the county seek our continued assistance.”

John Moone