Monroe County working hard to combat national paramedic shortage

Monroe County working to keep paramedics

According to Captain Shane Cook with Monroe County's emergency services, there is a shortage of paramedics nationwide.

Cook says, thankfully, they do not have a shortage currently, but they are doing their best to keep the paramedics that they do have.

Nicole Butler went to talk with a Monroe County paramedic to talk about why they are finding it difficult to keep paramedics on staff and what they are doing to put out this problem. 

At Monroe County Emergency services, they work hard every day for another life saved. Each employee is trained in both Fire and EMS.

At 19 years old Captain Clay Walton was ready to be a firefighter. Little did he know that an opportunity would arise for him to save lives in another way -- being a paramedic.

"That spoke to me that someone was going to give somebody so young a chance," Walton says.

Now 10 years later, he's still a part of the team, but he says it's not always easy to keep these spots filled a lot of paramedics go on to be nurses.

Walton says making sure they don't run into any shortages is critical.

"Everybody gets burned out. It's a natural part of the job. Giving them a break, allowing them to get onto a fire truck for a few minutes or a couple of shifts would really just boost moral and it cuts down on fatigue," Walton says.

So they are bringing in some incentives to help bring more people on board.

There are also new monitors in every truck, along with new ventilators, more medicines, and even new trauma kits that include tags for mass casualties to help keep them on their toes and organized.

All of the fire trucks are also equipped with emergency gear, and Captain Shane Cook says that they have some of the best equipment in their EMS region.

But along with the low insurance and treating their employees like family, he has a message for anyone who thinks they'd make a good fit for the job.

"If you're a paramedic and you're ready for a challenge, you're ready for a family-oriented atmosphere, and you're ready to do some advanced procedures within your scope of practice, then Monroe County is definitely the place to be," Cook says.

Captain Cook says that Monroe County is investing in their fire and EMS employees sending them to paramedic school free of charge in exchange for two years of service.

He says they would love to be at full staff for paramedics needing two or three more employees.

If you are interested in applying, Cook says just head over to their headquarters on Montpelier Ave to pick up an application.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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