SMYRNA, Del.- Volunteer fire companies in Delaware are looking for more money for their ambulance services. They say it is necessary to keep up with increased demand.
Alan Post and his team at the American Legion Ambulance Service in Smyrna handle ambulance responsibilities for two volunteer fire districts, Smyrna and Clayton.
"Their membership has not wanted an ambulance service," Post said. "Because we've been here providing it. We have a great working relationship with both companies. They take care of the fires. We take care of the patients."
As a part of a request from the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association, his company and 53 others would each get $100,000 for additional staff - a $5.4 million request in total.
Post says it would cover two additional EMTs. He says calls for service have been going up seven to 15-percent annually.
Chief Robert Sutton, with the DVFA, says many other areas across the state are seeing the same.
"The funding for the services we provide is limited," Sutton said. "The responses are increasing. Our income is decreasing."
Sutton says a 1999 state law requires fast response. And companies need more staff to keep up with that requirement, especially in growing areas.
"We're trying to address this problem now before it becomes a critical issue," he said. "We're trying to look into the future and be prepared for that future."
"We've got to be there for our community," said Post.
Sutton realizes getting a "yes" from lawmakers on the request won't be easy. He says his organization is open to alternatives.
Money for this request is not currently a part of the proposed budget. The state controller's office says lawmakers options if they want to fund it are either take money from elsewhere - or hope revenue estimates go up.
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