Back on track

Published 10:52 am Monday, November 20, 2017

JACKSON – After dealing with different issues for the past six months or more, Gaston Rescue Squad is getting back to normal. That’s according to Northampton County EMS Director Chuck Joyner as he spoke to the Board of Commissioners during their regular meeting on November 6.

Commissioner Charles Tyner said it was the first time he’d heard of such problems with the volunteer rescue squad and asked Joyner to explain the situation.

“They encountered some financial and some membership issues,” Joyner said. “They had pretty much stopped answering calls for all intents and purposes.”

Joyner reported the organization had not dissolved while they had been dealing with their internal problems.

“They are in the process now of restructuring and trying to get back on their feet,” he continued. “They have a new board of directors. They have some new membership. They have answered a couple of calls in the last week or so.”

“This is the first I’ve heard about this,” Tyner stated, wanting to discuss the rescue squad further.

The commissioner asked for more details about the financial situation as well as information on who had been servicing the area while Gaston Rescue had not been responding to calls.

Joyner replied he could ask the rescue squad members for a financial report to present at the next commissioners meeting, but he didn’t have the information on hand right then to answer Tyner’s question. He did, however, have an explanation about who had been covering the area for the past few months.

“They county has been doing that,” he said, explaining local volunteer squads—such as Gaston, Conway, and Eastside—normally work alongside Northampton’s crew.

“A county unit responds to every call for aid that comes in in the county. There has not been a lapse of coverage,” the EMS director stressed. “The fire department in Gaston also provides a first responder service, which is a basic first aid type response that they give. We have also utilized them to fill that gap between when they call to dispatch and when our units arrive.”

The Northampton EMS squad responding to calls in that area is based at Lake Gaston.

“Are we still in compliance as far as response time,” Commissioner Fannie Greene asked.

“For the most part,” Joyner answered with a nod. “We’re right on that borderline. We’re looking at anywhere from 8 to 12 minutes.”

The goal for response to calls is eight minutes or less, according to Joyner. With Gaston Rescue back to working as normal again soon, the response times will improve.

The commissioners thanked the director for the informative presentation.