On Thursday evening, June 30 — after 43 years of volunteer service to the residents of the Clement community, the local rescue squad ceased operations with a final radio call. To all …
On Thursday evening, June 30 — after 43 years of volunteer service to the residents of the Clement community, the local rescue squad ceased operations with a final radio call. To all monitoring the channel, leaders announced the squad’s end and thanked its members for their service.
Clement Rescue Squad ended its more than four decades of protection and life-saving due to a dwindling roster of volunteer members. The 2022 filing of the squad’s roster of members with the N.C. Association of Rescue Squads and EMS listed 16 active members.
The decision to close became necessary in January of 2022 when the leadership realized their membership was shrinking and due to pending retirements of long-serving members, future operations would not be sustainable.
Member Ark Matthews spoke with The Daily Record regarding the closure.
“It is almost impossible to get someone interested in volunteer rescue service to commit to over 800 hours of training in their first two to three years of membership,” he explained. “The training commitment along with the responsibility of being available to answer calls for service requires more free hours than most people have to offer as a volunteer.”
Candidates for EMT can take from six to 12 months to complete the training necessary to become certified. The required training hours number 120 or more, depending on the curriculum.
Technical rescue is a specialized service of fire and rescue operations encompassing six disciplines: rope rescue, confined space rescue, vehicle/machinery rescue, structural collapse rescue, trench rescue and water rescue. Each level requires advanced training to develop unique skill sets. Training to become certified in all of these areas of expertise requires 688 hours or more.
Persons living in the Clement area will not be in dire straits as a result of the rescue squad’s closure. Clement Fire Department has taken over rescue services and Sampson County EMS has moved a paramedic unit to the area. Calls will be answered, but some of the area’s most valuable assets — its rescue squad volunteers — have hung up their uniforms for the last time.
They signed off with a final "10-42" (ending tour of duty call).
Robert Jordan can be reached at email@example.com or 910-230-2037.