Ambulance services looking for paramedics, EMTs
BATON ROUGE - Ambulance services are trying to recruit more paramedics and EMTs amid a nationwide shortage. The staffing shortage could be attributed to opportunities elsewhere, a high employee turnover, and low starting pay rates.
One ambulance service in the area is offering an incentive to help attract more employees. Acadian Ambulance is offering a $15,000 signing bonus to qualified paramedics and a competitive tuition forgivable loan for EMTs.
Acadian Ambulance says their ambulances are staffed but many paramedics are working overtime from week to week.
"With all the people we've had go out sick and the national shortage pre-COVID, we're needing more people," said Justin Cox, operations manager for Acadian Ambulance.
Call numbers dropped significantly at the start of the pandemic as people feared catching the virus from visiting the hospital. It caused some ambulance companies to cut back a bit in staffing. Now that emergency call numbers have gone back up to normal levels more professionals are needed.
Acadian Ambulance has been promoting classes through the National EMS Academy. While paramedics and EMTs are graduating and being hired, it's not happening as fast as the job demands.
Baton Rouge EMS says they are also looking for paramedics and EMTs. It's been holding training courses in conjunction with BRCC. Baton Rouge EMS says the application process is active and has about 10 paramedic openings.
"It's a physically demanding job," said EMS spokesman Mike Chustz. "Working here at EMS, we have very aggressive guidelines that a lot of people really like."
EMS says it takes pride in having many 20-plus year employees.
"This job is very exciting and different every day," said Chustz.
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