Have a question? Please feel free to contact us using any method listed on the "Contact Us" page and we will do our best to respond. Here are some of our more frequently asked questions below.
Q. How many people are needed for an ambulance to respond?
The short answer is two people. These two people must, at a minimum, be certified as an Emergency Medical Techinican (EMT) by the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services (VAOEMS) and a driver that has a valid Emergency Vehicle Operator's Certification that meets the requirements set forth by VAOEMS. This allows for "Basic Life Support" (BLS) care.
In order to staff an Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulance, a minimum of an EMT and an ALS provider (Advanced EMT, Intermediate, or Paramedic) are needed. In addition there is a larger amount of equipment required.
Q. Will an Advanced Life Support ambulance always respond?
Due to staffing levels, we cannot guarantee that if an ambulance responds, it will be ALS. If needed, the BLS crew can ask for mutual aid through an another agency to meet an ALS provider on the way to the hospital. We also utilize helicopter EMS services as well.
Q. I called 911 and an ambulance is on the way, what else can I do to help?
If you or another person can meet the ambulance outside and direct them to the patient that is always best. Never leave the patient unattended unless it is safe for you to leave them alone or if you are at risk of injury by staying. If access to the patient is limited moving things such as cars that are blocking the driveway, furniture that is blocking access to the patient, or turning your outside lights on in the dark are some simple things you can do to help.
Q. Do the Highland County EMS staff oversee the volunteers?
Not directly. Highland County EMS, Highland County Volunteer Rescue Squad, and Bolar Volunteer Rescue Squad are all separate EMS agencies. While Highland County EMS does work closely with HCVRS, we do not oversee their operations. We provide input and advice when requested.
Through a policy approved by the Highland Board of Supervisors in late 2019, HCEMS administration does have some authority over the provision of patient care. With this a Quality Assurance committee was created that is comprised of members from Highland Volunteer Rescue Squad, Bolar Volunteer Rescue Squad, and Highland County Department of EMS. This committee reviews all aspects of patient care and looks for ways to improve the way EMS is provided in Highland County.
Q. Is there a career staff member always at the station?
We strive to have at least one provider at the building 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, there are times where this is not possible. Without part time positions to fill vacancies for full time staff that may be sick, on county provided paid time off, or at required continuing education training, there are times when a career member is unavailable. During these times, we heavily rely on volunteer staffing. In addition, if the career member is out on another call, volunteers are again asked to fill in.
Q. Can I volunteer?
YES! YES! YES! You can volunteer with either of the two volunteer EMS agencies within Highland County. This is the best way to help ensure EMS services are able to be provided in Highland County. If you would like to volunteer you can contact us using any of the methods below and we will forward you contact information for the volunteer agencies.
Q. I want to take CPR. Do you provide courses? Do I have to join the rescue squad to be eligible?
Yes, we provide CPR courses. We currently employ two AHA certified CPR instructors. If you would like to learn more about taking a CPR course please contact us. You do not have to join the rescue squad to take a CPR course. Highland County Volunteer Rescue does offer reimbursement to members that take classes if you were to join.
Q. I want to become an EMT. How do I become one?
While not required, it is highly reccommended that you join a rescue squad. After that, you need to take an EMT Initial Certification Course. Information regarding certification courses in Virginia, as well as where to find a course can be found at the VAOEMS website. We do offer courses in Highland County, information about upcoming classes will always be posted on our website and in the local newspaper.
Q. I was transported and recieved a bill. Who do I contact if I have questions?
All billing is handled by Emergency Service Support in Staunton. If you have a question about your bill you may call them at: 540-213-0528. Do not call the rescue squad, we are not able to answer questions about billing.