9:05 PM EST, November 26, 2012
A long tradition is coming to an end. For the past 78 years, the Lynchburg Life Saving Crew has responded to emergency calls.
But that will stop. 2013 will bring new rules for the Lynchburg Life Saving Crew.
Starting January first, the city will no longer refer 911 calls to the crew.
On Monday, the Lynchburg Life Saving Crew was empty. Nobody was inside and no one answered the phone. That's part of the problem says Fire Chief Brad Ferguson.
"It's not anything against the crew they just don't have the people to run the calls," says Chief Ferguson.
The Lynchburg Life Saving Crew provides basic medical care at emergency calls. It has done so since 1934. The crew's president Joyce Sachs posted a statement on its website.
Part of it reads: "...this decision was arbitrary and unnecessary, we have no alternative but to accept that we will no longer be called upon to serve."
The statement also acknowledges the lack of volunteers: "unfortunately the number of volunteers who are willing to serve in this role has continued to decline over the last ten years"
They're also running fewer calls.
According to the city: there have been 24,000 calls so far this year. The Life Saving Crew has run 142 calls and zero since November.
"Recently they haven't had enough people to be in service very often," says Chief Ferguson, "So we just decided that that's probably not worth it anymore."
Chief Ferguson says the crew could be used as a reserve unit in the future.
The Life Saving Crew is the third oldest in the country.
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