AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — Aiken County Emergency Medical Services still struggles to provide assistance to residents. “Whether it’s a public or private service, everyone is having trouble recruiting positions for EMS, particularly the upper level, the paramedics, and advanced,” Aiken County Administrator Clay Killian told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk.

Aiken County has 79 available positions for EMS. Nearly 20 need to be filled. “The possibility of burnout and high call volumes that we’re dealing with, we think it’s kind of a combination of all of that working to make it hard for us to find folks to work.,” he said.

New data shows more than 60 status zeros were reported in September. That’s when there weren’t enough ambulances in the county. In October, it more than doubled. Patients waited nearly 180 times for services to arrive. “We’re probably at the point of where we’re gonna have to add some units just to meet national guidelines. And it’s not a regulation, but it’s a guideline, and we’re trying to get back to that level,” Killian said.

County leaders hope the third time’s a charm when it comes to pay increases. “10% and some of the other things we’re working on in the budget itself. I wouldn’t rule anything out. Everything’s on the table for us to think about,” he shared.

Next year the shift schedules could change after a review of the budget. “We gotta try to figure out, we need to go to a 24 on 72 off schedule, which apparently a lot of folks think that’s the way to go. We would need 27 more people to do that,” he added.

County leaders could discuss the possible increase at its next meeting on December 13.