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Va. volunteer agency adds paid providers, cuts response times by more than half

The Cool Branch Volunteer Rescue Department now has full-time and part-time EMTs and paramedics plus volunteers


Cool Branch reduced its response times by more than half by adding staffers.

Photo/Cool Branch Volunteer Rescue Squad, Inc.

By Leila Merrill
FireRescue1/EMS1 Staff

PENHOOK, Va. — Adding paid EMS providers to the volunteer staff has reduced local response times.

More than two years ago, a community member died after calling 911 and waiting more than 40 minutes for help to arrive. Volunteers with the Cool Branch Volunteer Rescue Department were busy, and nearby departments were out on other calls.

“The board and the volunteers all agreed we needed help,” said Tiffani Matherly, Cool Branch captain.

Cool Branch hired a full-time paramedic and two part-time, plus one full-time EMT and four on a part-time basis.

Prior to the career positions, a response took around 8 minutes, but with paid staffers, the average response time is down to under three minutes.