At the end of May, the Youngsville Volunteer Fire Department won't be able to respond to the unincorporated areas of Lafayette Parish for emergency medical calls.
In a statement from Capt. Richard C. Bresnahan, president of the board that oversees the VFD, that means they won't be responding to emergency calls for cardiac arrest, heart problems, chest pain, breathing difficulty, drowning, choking, fainting and strokes.
"Currently, total calls to the unincorporated area account for approx. 30% of the Youngsville Volunteer Fire Department Inc.’s call volume and funds from LCG only account for 3.15% of the department’s operating cost, leaving the residents of the City of Youngsville to pay the rest," the statement reads.
According to the statement, the Youngsville City Council passed a resolution and sent it to the Lafayette Parish Council in February, and so far there has been "little to no response from the council."
The VFD board has now voted to let residents know that as of May 31, the "non-contractual services" won't be provided anymore.
The VFD does have a contract to fight fires in the unincorporated areas, and the VFD does plan to meet those obligations, the statement reads.
"The current contract between LCG and the Youngsville Volunteer Fire Department Inc. expires in November 2023 and communication was sent to Lafayette Parish Councilman Josh Carlson that the cost to provide this service will increase with a new contract and that we will not provide the same service (30% of our current call volume) to those outside of our city limits for the current allocation which has remained stagnant for years," the statement reads.
We reached out to LCG, and they acknowledged that the Youngsville department isn't required to respond to medical emergencies.
"The Youngsville Volunteer Fire Department is not contractually obligated to respond to medical emergencies, it chooses to respond," a statement reads. "Medical emergencies in unincorporated areas are covered by Acadian Ambulance."
LCG officials do take issue with Bresnahan's comment that funding "has remained stagnant for years."
Parish allocations to the fire department have remained the same the past two fiscal years but increased by $29,134 since the 2020-21 fiscal year, they say.
Here are the figures for the past three fiscal years:
FY 2020-2021 $42,188
FY 2021-2022 $71,322
FY 2022-2023 $71,322
LCG officials say they've also funded equipment for parish volunteer fire departments in recent years, including an additional tanker truck, fuel and truck repairs, new radios and 27 fire hydrants.