JACKSONVILLE, Onslow County — Back in September, the Onslow County commissioners voted to cut contracts with four volunteer rescue squads. Starting next month, those cuts take effect.
Haws Run, Nine Mile, Richlands and Swansboro rescue squads will lose their funding contracts. With fire departments in the county becoming fully stocked with the necessary equipment to rescue a person when needed and with Onslow County hiring EMS responders, that led to the duplication of services.
Now the question for the four volunteer rescue squads which will lose funding is to close their doors or merge with larger agencies.
"We are not trying to drive out the volunteers, were trying to compact our number of volunteers down into fewer organization," said Onslow County Director of Emergency Services Norman Bryson.
The choice for these departments is an important one since, in some cases, they serve thousands of households in their radius. Those agencies we spoke with said they are open for conversations about negotiating mergers with the volunteer squads.
Bryson said in some cases, successful mergers mean faster response times. No matter what the volunteer rescue squads decide, Onslow County officials said they will find a way to service all the people the volunteer rescue squads previously covered.