“We see it in it’s rawest and that’s tough sometime.”
The Gold Cross in Augusta is the 6th largest ambulance service in Georgia.
It currently has 300 employees but not all of them work full-time. John Smith says the company would like to add 50 or 60 more employees.
“We’re trying everything we can to bring people in.”
Offering different solutions to help fill in the blanks.
“We’ve tried to get people from other areas to move here to come work, we’ve tried sign on bonuses, moving bonuses….just everything.”
There is a national EMS standard.
Carol Palmer the clinical coordinator at Augusta University EMS Academy says the requirements and skill set are more demanding as time goes on. Some technical schools are no longer teaching the required course to become a first responder, making it harder to combat the shortage.
“Once you get that license you have two years and then you have continuing education requirements that you have to do in those two years.”
Basic, Advanced and Paramedic are the three levels that make up the course.
Basic EMT training requires a high school diploma where basic medical care is taught.
Progressing to advance means learning about medication and procedures.
Someone who is a paramedic covers advanced life support.
But they say it’s a job you can’t do for the money.
“it’s a very demanding job,it can be very emotionally challenging and at times heartbreaking,” says Carol Palmer.
“We do it because we love it and we get to make a difference in people’s lives,” says John Smith.
Smith emphasizes it is the success stories that pay the most.