Tenn. bill would allow EMS agencies to teach certification classes

Sullivan County Rep. John Crawford sponsored a bill that would allow EMS agencies in five counties to teach both basic and advanced EMT classes

By EMS1 Staff

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. — A Tennessee bill could help EMS agencies in several counties recruit members by allowing them to hold certification classes themselves.

WJHL reported that Sullivan County Representative John Crawford sponsored a bill that would allow EMS agencies to teach both basic and advanced EMT classes in house, which they are currently not allowed to do.

Crawford said the in-house training could help the agencies hire more recruits and make it easier for trainees to be certified.

"I felt like there was a true need for the citizens out here because there's no use of having these ambulances, meeting state certified, all of the qualifications, and not having people out there to run these ambulances," he said.

Ambulance Service of Bristol owner Wallace Elliot said he is feeling the effects of a staffing shortage.

"There are just not enough EMTs," Elliot said. "Certainly there are days and times that we need units that we just don't have the people for."

Elliott said trainees not having to attend classes at universities or community colleges would help immensely.

"If you have one college that is providing their classes to 10 different services that are sending people, we all have different work schedules and rotations. I can set my class times at what best works for my employees," he said.

Crawford said the most important thing is to “get more ambulances out there, more trained people.”

The bill, which has passed both the House and Senate, currently addresses five counties in the state, but Crawford said he plans to make it a statewide bill next session.

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