AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — Aiken County leaders say they are making strides in improving emergency response. With an increased fleet of ambulances hitting the road, the department is ensuring quicker aid to those in need.

“Things have, have improved drastically,” County Administrator Clay Killian told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk.

Recently the County started a 24 on 72 off schedule. Employees will work 24 hours straight and have three days off before their next shift. “That seems to be the most preferred shift of all folks,” he said.

Ten trucks are available most days. Occasionally, there are 11. In the last month, no status zeros were reported. Status zeros indicate ambulance availability. “Now, that’s not always gonna be the case. The county’s growing so fast that even if we have 15 trucks, there will be days when we’re gonna have some pending calls and status zeros. Because there are so many calls, they ran about 28,000 calls last year.”

The schedule was a selling point for nearly 40 recruits. “Probably half of those that have been hired are our paramedics. The rest are EMT advanced or basics. We’ve got some folks in school right now that when they get outta school, they will have already had their clinical done,” he shared.

The county is working with a consulting company to assess Aiken EMS issues with staffing. It’s being done through a survey. “The firm that’s looking at that will be able to get a clear picture of how they feel about the service and how they, how they feel about where they’re working,” Killian said.

Meanwhile, leaders are considering partnering with private companies for non-emergency calls, freeing up paramedic trucks for more critical situations. “So that our paramedic trucks won’t get tied up on something that would prevent them from going to something much more serious.”