Tulsa EMS braces for summertime demand on staff, ambulances

The EMSA in-house, zero-tuition program pays students while they are in the classroom

By Bill Carey 
EMS1 Staff 

TULSA, Okla. — The already high call volume coupled with an expected high summer call volume has EMSA concerned about staffing and ambulance availability. 

Adam Paluka, the Chief Public Affairs Officer for EMSA told KOTV he expects the agency to see a record number of calls across the region. "We have a lot of smokers. We have an obese and heavy-set population," Paluka said. "We are tasked with responding anytime someone calls 911." 

The expected increase in calls is met with an increase in staffing. 

EMSA's 4-month-long Advantage program, a zero tuition, in-house EMT school helps with recruitment. Students graduate from the program with certifications and an 18-month contract with EMSA. "They are paid for each day they are in the classroom," Paluka said. 

Paluka said the increase in calls is also affecting ambulances. In 2023 EMSA recorded approximately 520 hard-braking incidents and 32 near collisions, 28 of which were unavoidable. 

EMSA ambulances in the Tulsa area run on a 6-year cycle but many are two years past their prime, requiring more preventative maintenance. 


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