Calls have been keeping crews busy at the Wythe County Rescue Squad, which serves both the Town of Wytheville and parts of the county, but they have been taking on the heavy load with a much lighter staff.
They let go eleven of 22 paid workers over the last few months.
"We have had to pick up and we are truly on-call 24/7 now. So we have to come out whether it's 10 p.m. at night, or 9 a.m. in the morning. So our lives kind of went from office to everything," said Beth Crigger, Director of Wythe County Rescue Squad.
The town cut out a yearly $10,000 donation in April. It is money Town Manager Wayne Southerland says they simply do not have to spend.
"Many of the services that are normally provided are going to be either curtailed. We've got rate increases in a number of areas, so it's across all bounds of the budget," said Southerland.
But with calls up 22 percent when compared to this time last year, and the squad writing off around $120,000 in unpaid bills, tough decisions had to be made
"If we had received the $10,000, we could have actually probably delayed the layoff a little bit longer, gave people more of an opportunity to you know find other jobs," said Crigger.
Now the only government help the squad is getting is $25,000 per year from the county. But in that allotment, they are giving them the government gas rate which Crigger says is about 20 to 30 percent cheaper than what the rest of us pay.
"It's unfortunate, but I think they are going to have to look at different business models or something in terms of how their funding is going to come, because I'm not sure that the government dollars are there anymore," said Southerland.
But for now, everyone is working around the clock to pick up the slack.
Crigger says they were looking at hard-billing patients to make up the difference, which means sending them to collections if they did not pay, or work out a payment plan, but county leaders have asked them to hold off, while a task force looks into the matter.