Madison County Rescue Squad to Cease Active Operations After Contract Not Renewed

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Without initially given an exact reason, the Madison County Rescue Squad will now cease operations following a fiscal court decision this month. Although most operations will be ceased due to these budget constraints county-wide, the rescue squad says that they will continue to train and will maintain status as a not-for-profit organization.

The following is the official statement from Madison County Fiscal Court:

In January, Madison County Government notified the Madison County Rescue Squad, Inc. of the decision to not renew the annual contract for rescue services. 

“This decision was made after careful deliberation and review of a variety of factors including concerns over possible litigation, financial oversight, feedback from citizens, and on-scene safety concerns involving Madison County Rescue Squad, Inc.” said Judge Executive Reagan Taylor. “In addition, feedback and input from members of the emergency response community both within Madison County Government and with our partnering emergency response agencies led to this decision.”

Madison County Fire Department will be taking the lead as Madison County’s rescue response as of February 12, 2020.  Madison County Fiscal Court, Madison County Emergency Management, and Madison County Fire Department will: 

  1. Continue to provide the same level of service that Madison Countians are accustomed to and in compliance with KRS 39F;
  2. Continue to provide rescue service, as we have in the past, with our highly qualified full-time firefighters who are trained in both fire and rescue response; 
  3. Continue our financial support of each of our volunteer fire departments as well as the Berea Rescue Squad;
  4. Continue to ensure a baseline of 100 hours of training per member in both fire and rescue response;
  5. Continue utilizing specialized teams to assist in major scale events; and
  6. Continue to utilize the County’s extrication equipment for vehicle entrapment response. 

Madison County Fire Department will be providing rescue service for Madison County EMS and the various volunteer fire departments will be coordinating with the Madison County Coroner for transport service. 

Here is the full post from the Rescue Squad’s Facebook:

The Madison County Rescue Squad, Inc. was recently notified by county officials that after 45 years of continuous, volunteer service to Madison County, the Fiscal Court will be withdrawing our authority to operate as a rescue squad on February 11, 2020. This decision was recommended by Madison County Emergency Management Director Dustin Heiser and approved by Judge Executive Reagan Taylor. Kentucky law (KRS 39f) requires that we maintain formal affiliation with the county government in order to provide rescue services, thus we will be discontinuing all rescue services as of midnight on that date.

We were not provided with any reason for this decision and a request for reconsideration was declined by the Judge Executive. We have offered on numerous occasions to meet with Director Heiser and/or Judge Executive Taylor if they had any questions or concerns about our operations but neither held any discussions with us prior to making this decision, we simply received a letter in the mail. We know that we have consistently provided professional emergency and public safety service to the citizens of the county and that we have consistently met the standards established by state law for rescue squads. We also know that this decision was not a cost-saving effort, since we have offered to forego the small amount of funds ($16,000) that we receive annually from the county. We can speculate about the reasons for this decision but we don’t believe that doing so would be productive.

In the letter, Judge Executive Taylor advised us that the Madison County Fire Department will be assuming responsibility for the services that have been provided by our squad along with mutual aid from other counties and Bluegrass Emergency Response Team (BERT). The Fiscal
Court currently pays an annual fee for response by BERT, who may or may not be available when called. We have tremendous respect for the county firefighters but we believe that they will be unable to meet the standards required for a recognized rescue squad. State law provides that a rescue squad may be part of a fire department but requires that the department provide at least twelve personnel whose primary mission is rescue (rather than firefighting). Given the limited number of personnel available to the fire department, and the fact that the law does not provide for mutual aid personnel from other agencies to be counted toward the twelve member
requirement, it is difficult to see how they will meet that standard while still maintaining adequate personnel for firefighting. The current plan relies on mutual aid from Richmond Fire and Rescue and Blue Grass Army Depot Fire Department as required. It is also rumored that the volunteer fire departments will lose their $16,000 annually. With the county’s current budget crises, it would seem that volunteer agencies would be a great necessity.

We strongly disagree with the decision to withdraw our affiliation with the county but we will work to insure an orderly transition of services. Organizations that have previously depended upon us for support for public events should contact the Madison County Fire Department at (859) 624-4774 to discuss arrangements for future support. Citizens who need emergency assistance should continue to call 911 as usual.
While we will no longer be providing rescue services after February 11, we intend to properly store and maintain our vehicles and equipment, continue training and maintain our status as a non-profit corporation. We hope that a future administration will reconsider the need to provide
a dedicated rescue squad for the county, and if that occurs, we expect to be ready to serve. Questions or comments may be directed to officers@madisoncorescue.org.