Local News

Orange Rescue Squad asked to stand down

Posted July 18, 2008

— Orange County's director of emergency medical services has asked the Orange County Rescue Squad to stop responding to emergencies until county officials can review their work.

EMS Director Frank Montes de Oca said Friday that a preliminary report shows the volunteer squad, which responds to wrecks in the northern part of the county, might have endangered squad members and others during some of their responses.

“(They) demonstrated a significant lack of safety standards,” Montes de Oca said, adding that that the squad sometimes responded to emergencies when they weren’t called, operated power tools while standing in gasoline, dropped equipment along the road and responded without proper equipment to a possible drowning and other calls.

Orange County Manager Laura Blackmon said in a statement that the request for the rescue squad to "stand down" wouldn't compromise public safety. The county EMS remains fully staffed and is backed by firefighters in various departments who have been trained as first responders.

Montes de Oca said he doesn't have a time frame for completing the evaluation and ensuring Orange County Rescue Squad members are properly certified and have needed operating procedures in place.

His order has no effect on the South Orange Rescue Squad, a separate volunteer organization that covers the southern portion of the county form a station in Carrboro and provides similar services.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • doghousebrewery Jul 18, 2008

    Just one more comment....as leo pointed w/ va beach rescue squad, volunteerism works great when operated properly and with a proper attitude from the volunteers. Unfortunately alot of counties around don't have the volunteers(w/the proper attitude) left to do the job properly. I'll use Franklin Co. as an example of how it shouldnt be done. I recently asked a volunteer medic why they didn't stay at the station at night, as opposed to responding from home. Their response was, "we aren't paid, why should we have to stay at the station?" I was actually ostrasized for asking such a question. Well, boys and girls, when you take 15-20 mins to get a unit on scene, when you could shave 5-10 mins off of that by staying at the station, you have a problem. Guess thats why they had a 0% survival rate from cardiac arrest last year in Frankilin Co. ....when you have that attitude, its time to pack it in b/c you are only hurting the citizens you serve.

  • thinkbeforeyoublab Jul 18, 2008

    The Fireman - The Chiefs of a Volunteer F.D. are allowed to have a siren and there vehicle is considered an emergency vehicle.

    That is correct unless it has changed the chief and one asst. chief can have a siren in their personal vehicle. I wanted to mention that on the previous post but was running out of characters. They expect us to solve the worlds problems in 1000 characters or less.

  • The Fireman Jul 18, 2008

    The Chiefs of a Volunteer F.D. are allowed to have a siren and there vehicle is considered an emergency vehicle.

  • doghousebrewery Jul 18, 2008

    "TheAdmiral---I think we need to have our services either 100% volunteer or 100% paid. No combination"
    Elaborate on this comment, with facts supporting your statement please sir.

  • leo-nc Jul 18, 2008

    "Volunteers in personal vehicles with red lights are asking you to move over. It is a courtesy light only. They are not allowed to have siren, bell or air horn. It is not an official emergency vehicle. They cannot run red lights or you off the road. You should move over and be nice though."---

    That's exactly right. The problem is that some volunteers don't understand this law and when the red light comes on, look out. Unfortunately one of these days, a good many of them may end up like this guy....


    For those departments who don't allow their volunteers run red lights, their response times are just as good as the others. On top of that, many departments are now disallowing people to respond directly to scene in a POV. This is the SMART thing to do as too many POV's create a danger on scene. Like I said, there are a LOT of good volunteers out there. NC just needs to get with the times and change the rules.

  • housemanagercary Jul 18, 2008

    Everyone complaining here about them speeding through etc, should stop and thank their lucky stars that they have volunteers in rural areas who respond to life threatening situations. When you live in a rural area of the county that they county deems is not "cost-effective" to staff full time with a unit and a team, you are essentially being written off as an acceptable loss should something happen when they can't arrive within a necessary time frame. I find it deplorable that any county, Orange included, allows certain areas to fall withing a 15+ minute response area. Why don't you all get upset at that?!

  • leo-nc Jul 18, 2008

    If you want to know how it's done right, go here and take a look...


    Virginia Beach EMS has a army of over 600 volunteers. They are the largest all volunteer rescue squad / ambulance service in the country and have been that way since 1952. Having lived there before I can tell you they are WELL respected and top notch.

  • leo-nc Jul 18, 2008

    "I have been run off the road several times by these types as well as volunteer firemen in their fast pick up trucks rushing to direct traffic, etc. Must be a good rush to speed through traffic with your little red light blinking."--

    I agree. I have seen some of these guys drive like maniacs going to a scene. Not all of them are like this but you can definiely tell which ones are the red-light bandits. Some of them have been seriously hurt doing this. It's especially dangerous because they are not allowed to use a siren. They are REQUESTING the right of way and by law cannot demand such. There are good volunteers out there, don't get me wrong. Just be careful of the ones who have trucks lit up like a christmas tree.

  • TheAdmiral Jul 18, 2008

    I think we need to have our services either 100% volunteer or 100% paid. No combination.

  • thinkbeforeyoublab Jul 18, 2008

    TechRescue - I can't argue because what you just said is true. I don't drink beer but how about sweet iced tea w/ lemon? I'll be coming through Creedmoor soon.

    My whole point is the people in OC are covered and the EM Director is doing his job correctly. Now I need to go do something important and get off of this thing.

    Watch because 5 or 6 comments from now somebody will say how the politics from the southside is destroying the volunteers and everybody on the northside is being forsaken.