More EMTs needed in rural areas

Local News

Many paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) will describe their jobs as demanding, yet rewarding,

However, the number of people filling those roles is decreasing– even locally.

“We’re experiencing the same thing that companies are experiencing nationwide, both volunteer and professional companies,” said Kent Stein, Tri-State Ambulance operations manager. “We sometimes can run into a challenge finding EMTs and medics out of school.”

While Tri-State Ambulance says they are fine with staffing now, they have experienced recruiting challenges in the past.

Currently, Tri-State has about 30 paramedics and 20 EMTs in both full-time and casual positions.

A casual position requires only 24 hours of work each month.

A good candidate for the job is someone who is flexible.

“It’s a double-edged sword, so the unpredictability is what a lot of people like when they do this job, they don’t know what they’re going to get when they come in everyday,” Stein said.

Tri-State Ambulance says one of the reasons for the shortage could be the trauma that paramedics and EMTs sometimes experience being the first ones to arrive on scene.

“You see people in all states of life and death and so that can wear on a person after awhile,” Stein said.

Programs that help address that trauma are becoming more common.

Tri-State Ambulance also stresses the importance of having a healthy work and personal life balance.

One-third of rural emergency medical services are so short-staffed that they are at risk, according to a new National Rural Health Association Policy Brief.

Stein credits that to people having less time to volunteer in those communities.

For Stein, entering this field was the perfect fit for the seven-year U.S. Coastal Guard officer who missed public service.

“[I like] being able to serve every individual person,” Stein said. “People trust you to come into their life at really the worst time in their life, at least medically speaking, and extend a hand.”

Tri-State Ambulance is hiring full-time EMTs and paramedics.

Those interested can apply. For more information, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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