Botetourt County EMS officials and Buchanan Rescue Squad leaders were meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss options for improving response times and capabilities in the squad’s service area, according to Assistant County Administrator Spencer Suter.

Suter said health issues for some key Buchanan Rescue Squad members and a lack of enough volunteers prompted the county to become involved in trying to help the squad retain its ability to run emergency calls.

Suter said the squad has not lost its license but was in danger of losing the support of Medical Director Dr. Jeff Turner. “He has expressed his concerns,” Suter said, “but is comfortable with Buchanan operating under the county’s EMS license,” which is one of the options being considered in Tuesday’s meeting.

As part of its effort to help shore up response capabilities, Suter said, the county’s EMS is working with Buchanan Rescue Squad and responders there to improve service.

Tuesday afternoon’s meeting included county officials, squad leaders, representatives of the Virginia Office of EMS and the Western Virginia EMS Council.

“We’ll do whatever we need to do to provide the service,” Suter said.

The county already has activated supplementary measures to maximize available EMS response to the Buchanan area, according to county officials. These include immediate dispatch of mutual aid (both volunteer and career) to calls in the Buchanan area and assistance from Buchanan Volunteer Fire Department responders.

Suter said other help may include working to bring in additional volunteers to help the Buchanan squad in the future.

Any squad that provides emergency medical help is licensed by the Virginia Office of EMS and operates under the direction of a medical director. Turner, a Carilion physician, serves as medical director for the volunteer rescue squads in Botetourt and the county’s career EMS, Suter said.

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