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Volunteer ambulance service ended

March 11, 2009

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A lack of volunteers has prompted Bedington Volunteer Fire Department to no longer send its ambulance on emergency calls, the organization's board president confirmed recently.

While still available for calls for additional manpower, Robert Robinson said the lack of available personnel and concern about compromising wait times for emergency service prompted the decision by the board.

"Bedington is extremely lucky we have no trouble with volunteers on the fire side," Robinson said last week.

That hasn't been the case with ambulance service, particularly in the last few years, Robinson said.

The decision leaves the Berkeley County Ambulance Authority's paid emergency staff as the primary responders to emergencies in northern Berkeley County, Robinson said. Hedgesville and Baker Heights fire departments, whose service areas neighbor Bedington, still are running ambulance calls, he said.

The change also will save the Ambulance Authority money, Robinson said.

-- Matthew Umstead

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