Suffolk Fire Chief says policy change will improve safety of community

Posted at 8:42 PM, Aug 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-27 20:42:15-04

Suffolk, Va. - Suffolk Fire Chief, Cedric Scott, says a policy change he recently issued will improve the safety of the community.

He says it will ensure that an advanced provider or paramedic for the city, will now be available, 24-7 to respond to all emergency calls.

That means the Nansemond-Suffolk Volunteer Rescue Squad will no longer be the first responders when on duty.

Instead, they will only respond when city staffers at station one are already out.

"I think in my evaluation of our organization, several issues and concerns came forward that I can certainly not overlook,” says Chief Scott.

NewsChannel 3 asked Chief Scott to tell us exactly what issues have been brought up, but he was cut off before he could answer.

Even though Chief Scott couldn't explain what is going on, someone associated with the city gave NewsChannel 3 a copy of the letter.

It lays out six reasons why Chief Scott came to his decision.

One of his main concerns is that the rescue squad doesn't have someone at the advanced level ready to respond for each emergency call.

But in a follow-up letter, volunteers say they typically have more than enough personnel on hand.

They say they not only have an advanced provider, but two at the basic level as well.

Still, Chief Scott says the changes will be made and will take effect this coming Sunday.

It’s a decision, volunteers say, that will reduce their call volume from 1,300 last year to less than 100.

Now with hardly any work to do, it could result in many volunteers going elsewhere.

"I believe the opportunity to volunteer is still there,” says Chief Scott. "I think that if people go away from the organization, that's certainly a personal decision that individual's going to make."


Volunteer rescue squad says policy changes could affect funding