FEMA sends strike teams to 25 N.C. EMS agencies

“We all have shortages, and we are thankful to get one ambulance," said Pasquotank-Camden EMS Director Jerry Newell

By Leila Merrill

RALEIGH, N.C. — State and FEMA officials have deployed ambulances and crews throughout North Carolina to help with the high volume of calls during the current COVID-19 surge. At least one strike team has been referred to 25 agencies.  

Earlier this month, Mecklenburg EMS requested FEMA strike teams. The agency said that ambulance crews have started arriving.

Three ambulances and their EMS providers arrived Wednesday in Guilford County to support Guilford EMS, Fox 8 reported. Each crew is scheduled to work 12-hour shifts seven days a week.

North Carolina Emergency Management and North Carolina's Office of EMS Support has organized an orientation.

“The Strike Team is assigned to Guilford County for 14 days, at which point NCEM/NCOEMS will assess and potentially reassign resources based on need across the state. This program is a replication of the Ambulance Strike Teams provided by NCEM/NCOEMS in the Fall of 2021,” a NCEM/NCOEMS press release said.

A two-person team from Stoddard, Mo., arrived Wednesday to help the Pasquotank-Camden Emergency Medical Services agency, the Daily Advance reported.

The state sent a questionnaire to all EMS agencies asking about staffing shortfalls, said Pasquotank-Camden EMS Director Jerry Newell.

“We filled that out and in about 48 hours, they had the ambulance on the way,” Newell said. “We all have shortages, and we are thankful to get one ambulance." 

Onslow County received two FEMA strike team crews from Texas on Thursday, the Daily News reported.

The director of Onslow County Emergency Services noted that the staffing issue is not only happening in North Carolina or in any local area and has only been made worse by the pandemic.

“There is a national shortage in EMS staffing and personnel,” Norman Bryson said. “With COVID going on, call volumes are increasing.” 

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