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Tenn. school hopes $22M investment improves county EMS staffing

Tenn. school hopes $22M investment improves county EMS staffing


Rutherford County EMS/Facebook

By Bill Carey

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — A technical college in Tennessee believes its new school will help solve the staffing problem for one county EMS system.

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) in Nashville plans to break ground in Rutherford County and build a $22 million facility that will house a new EMT program, WKRN reported.

“Our goal is to stand that program up, work with local partners, and help provide a supply of skilled technicians for that,” TCAT President Nathan Garrett said.

TCAT Murfreesboro is also launching a new EMT program this fall.

Rutherford County EMS Director Brian Gaither said a lot has changed over the years. “When I first started, we were doing about 500 calls a month, and now we’re doing about 3,600 calls a month,” he said. More calls require more staffing and Gaither said he is struggling to hire.

An American Ambulance Association 2022 survey showed that the turnover for full-time EMTs was 36%, and full-time paramedics were 27%.

Garrett believes TCAT’s investment will address the need for EMTs and paramedics. 

“I don’t want to just throw fire engines at EMS problems. I want to throw fire engines at fire problems,” said Medford Fire Chief Thompson
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“We have upped salaries. We’ve recruited. Nobody wants to do it as much as they did,” said John Smith, the director of operations at Gold Cross