Bedford County uses citizen's academy to recruit volunteer EMT's - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Bedford County uses citizen's academy to recruit volunteer EMT's

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When it is an emergency involving your loved one, seconds matter in getting these folks on the road. A priority and concern for Bedford County fire and rescue chief deputy Janet Blankenship, as calls go up by the thousands each year.

"Less staff and an increase in call volume it is a concern for the citizens, and we what to make sure someone is getting there in an efficient manner," says Blakenship.

In 2009 more than 750 volunteers made up the ems division. The number dropped to about 600 in 2012.  

Throughout the year, Bedford County hosts classes for their citizens academy to teach people things like CPR. Blakenship hopes to use the class for a different reason; recruit EMT's. Krisha Dunford already has medical training and was one of 28 people signed up for the class.

"I didn't know Bedford County was doing anything, and the closest one I found was in Montgomery county and  they fill up quickly. This is the first one I found and got in," says Dunford.

Like any class they are put to the test. Some may walk away having learned something new, others may walk back through the doors. Dunford plans to become a volunteer EMT.

"Give back to a community that has given so much to me it means a lot to me," says Dunford.

With one more class, Blakenship hopes to see these people again. 

"I would take all I could get. I would love 100, but if we could get 20 or 30 that is a great increase," says Blankenship.

And put an end to a trend of a shrinking EMS division

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