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Askewville EMS forms

WINDSOR – Improved emergency response is coming soon to Bertie County.

At last week’s Board of Commissioners meeting, Bertie’s elected leaders approved a request to form Askewville EMS.

While it’s a fact that Unit 2 of the Bertie County Rescue Squad (BCRS) currently covers Askewville and surrounding areas, that service team falls under the primary management of BCRS Unit 1.

Those behind the push to fully separate BCRS Unit 2 from Unit 1 are not doing so in protest. Rather, they expressed a desire to ensure fair and equal service to the citizens of their service areas.

According to Allen White, the creation of Askewville EMS was the brainchild of Shelby Castelloe of Askewville.

“He hatched this idea and myself and others jumped in with him,” White said. “We wanted this to happen in order to ensure that Askewville and surrounding areas are constantly covered by EMS personnel.”

The plan, as approved by the commissioners, is to house what is now BCRS Unit 2 at an existing building in Askewville. Five current members of BCRS Unit 2 will join 14 volunteers to form Askewville EMS.

“This will be an all-volunteer unit, operating only off donations and hopefully from a stipend given by the county to each of the volunteer rescue squads in the county,” White said. “We will not bill for our services.”

Currently, BCRS Unit 1, Colerain Rescue and Lewiston-Woodville Rescue each receive $40,000 annually from the county to provide daytime EMS coverage to the county. They also each receive an additional $12,000 on an annual basis for operating a night and weekend volunteer service, as does Aulander Rescue.

Once Askewville EMS is operational, they would qualify for $12,000 in county funds. However, that money will not become available until the start of the county’s next fiscal year (July 1, 2006).

“We are legitimate,” White said. “Our application for formation has been pre-approved by the State Office of Emergency Management.”

What Askewville EMS needs to become operational is money. White said the new entity will purchase the building in Askewville and a truck from BCRS Unit 1. He added that the new EMS response team will form its own Board of Directors and elect officers.

“We’re starting from scratch,” White noted. “We are soliciting donations to help us get started and keep us operational.”

Those wishing to make a donation can do so by dropping it off at either Harrison’s Grocery or D.G. White Service Center, both in Askewville. Donations can also be mailed to Askewville EMS, P.O. Box 88, Windsor, NC, 27983.

If the funds fall into place in a timely manner, Askewville EMS will begin service May 1 as a basic level responder. Plans are to take the squad up to the ALS (Advanced Life Support) level.

For more information about Askewville EMS, contact either Castelloe (794-1681) or White (325-0056).