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Ky. county EMS moves to 12-hour shifts for medic safety

Jessamine County EMS moved from 24-hour shifts to help fight fatigue in EMS personnel


A Jessamine County EMS ambulance.

Jessamine County Emergency Medical Services/Facebook

By Bill Carey

JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky. — EMS officials in Jessamine County have changed their shift schedule to improve safety and decrease fatigue in its EMS personnel.

“We are a high-risk, high-reliability organization. Mistakes and errors can have disastrous consequences,” Assistant Chief Floyd Miracle told WKYT. “We want to remove the fatigue factor from the equation that could contribute to errors and mistakes.”

Miracle said Jessamine County EMS receives approximately 11,000 calls for service a year.

“24-hour shifts are very long, especially if you’re working for an EMS agency that is busy,” Miracle said. “The busier you are, the lower the chances that you’ll actually be able to get any rest whatsoever during that 24-hour period.”

The shift change is not the first effort EMS officials have taken to improve safety. Five years ago, officials addressed using lights and sirens during responses due to the likelihood of increased crashes.

“Within the past five years, we have decreased our rate of lights and sirens utilization from 50% to less than 10%,” Miracle said.

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Safety has been the only benefit of the change in shift schedule. Jessamine County Judge Executive David West said the switch has recruitment benefits.

“The move to 12 hours, for us, created a great interest, not just in our county, but in our region,” West said. “We are seeing employees from other counties, other areas, that want to work for Jessamine County because of the 12-hour shifts.”