Quick Clip: Why EMS can't let volunteer agencies die

Hosts Chris Cebollero and Kelly Grayson discuss the challenges of recruiting and training volunteer EMTs, and their importance to the industry

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In this week’s Quick Clip, hosts Chris Cebollero and Kelly Grayson talk about a decision to disband a volunteer ambulance service in New York due to a lack of volunteers and inability to meet demands for service, and use that time to focus on recruitment and training.

That story is juxtaposed by news about a station in St. Charles, Mo. that had closed for more than a year due to staff shortages and budget shortfalls, but has now reopened after voters approved an 11-cent property tax increase.

“I think volunteers face some real challenges, but if you get the word out on the service you provide, we can possibly get the funding and resources that we need to keep the services going,” Grayson said.

Volunteerism provides the foundation of EMS, and has been a strong component of the industry’s history, Cebollero said.

“We’ve got to do whatever it is that we can to make sure we keep those places running,” he said.

They agreed, however, that volunteer EMS providers also need to meet the same professional standards as paid EMS providers.

“In many parts of the country,” Grayson said, “they’re the only EMS available.” 

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