Henrico Fire hoping to get ambulances to emergencies more quickly

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Henrico County Fire Department is trying to improve how quickly ambulances respond to emergencies.

At the beginning of July, the department put into place a 90-day trial program which relocated the least busy ambulances to the most congested parts of the county. The ambulance from Station #4 in Varina now works out of Station #3 in Highland Springs.

In the West End, they moved an ambulance from Short Pump Station #16 to Station #9 on Quioccasin. These changes only happen on weekdays during daytime hours.

Fire Chief Tony McDowell believes the additional help in areas with high calls for service will boost ambulance response times.

“So they’re all sharing the workload instead of some ambulances sitting in the station not running calls, while others run back to back calls,” Chief MCDowell explained to 8News Reporter Kristin Smith.

Sherry Baber isn’t so sure. She lives in Varina and worries moving the ambulance from her local firehouse could jeopardize lives.

“Response time, three minutes to that car wreck or 12?” she questioned. “Which would you want if that was your child, your mother or you? Varina lives matter. They do. I don’t know what the solution is, but don’t take our ambulance away.”

Chief McDowell maintains no one has been adversely impacted by the changes so far.

At the end of September, the department will evaluate ambulance workloads and response times to determine if the trial program will become permanent.Find 8News on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to iReport8@wric.com.

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