A city committee has recommended the creation of a publicly-funded rescue squad, Henry Graff reports for NBC-29. The topic has become a bit of a political football since city leaders indicated their support for creating the new department back in April by way of a $1M budget addition. The city feels that the response times by Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad (CARS), the busiest rescue squad in the nation, are “unacceptable.” Committee chair Del. David Toscano cited response times to southwest C’ville as being most in need of improvement, and by “improvement” he means “replacement.”
CARS is a volunteer, non-profit community organization whose supporters aren’t happy to city criticized by the city, who doesn’t contribute financially to it but benefits enormously from it. My analysis of response times shows that things look pretty good. CARS publishes all of their response data to the web in real-time, making it possible for anybody to analyze their response times. The city’s own fire department — which would house the new city rescue squad — does not do so.
The new service, if approved by Council, would start up in just two months.
10/29 Update: A source at City Hall tells me that there were three primary partners on this task force — CARS, the city FD and the county FD — and both CARS and county FD voted against the final recommendation. This seems like a bad sign.