One year after fire and EMS services merge, Wytheville sees faster response times

Published: Mar. 12, 2021 at 10:49 PM EST
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WYTHEVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Wytheville’s emergency services cover more than 90 square miles of Wythe County, including two major interstates. That’s why this week, one year ago, fire and EMS services merged into one.

“It’s gone really, really well,” Chief Marc Brade said. “We’re certainly on scene for any type of emergency faster and more efficiently.”

Brade said anyone hired since he took over in Nov. 2018 has been dual-trained in fire and EMS.

“We’re kind of a one-stop shop. No matter what type of emergency our citizens have, or certainly our visitors, the entire department is capable of handling those,” Brade said. “If we have the ability to answer every single call that we might face by anybody that is an employee here or part of the department, then we just improve our capabilities on scene.”

Now, the average response time in town limits is less than four minutes, and it’s even quicker for EMS because they don’t have to gear up.

After the merge, they launched the slogan, “Changing the outcome together,” something they say will continue to make the community proud.

“If we all work together then literally, we’re going to get a world-class fire and rescue department,” Brade said.

As part of the five-year capital improvement plan, Brade said he is considering having two stations, one toward the western side of town and one toward eastern—that way they can maximize response times.

The department is also working to increase the fire protection rating system. Brade said this decreases everyone’s insurance premiums.

Last year the department had over 8,000 hours of training. Staff is required to do a bare minimum of four hours of training every time they go to work.

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