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Officials: NJ suffering volunteer EMT shortage

Less people are willing to volunteer due to the increase in training requirements in the state


By EMS1 Staff

SALEM, N.J. — EMS officials in New Jersey said they are feeling the effects of a volunteer EMT shortage, forcing some agencies to shut down or merge with paid agencies.

CBS Philadelphia reported that the number of volunteer EMS agencies in the state has decreased from 400 in the year 2000 to around 275 today, according to the EMS Council of New Jersey.

Officials said less people are willing to volunteer due to the increase in training requirements in New Jersey. The required hours to become certified have increased from around 110 hours to over 250 hours in the last decade.

“I would love to have my staff to be about 20 people,” Fenwick Community Ambulance Capt. Cameron Cagle said.

Officials said changes that could increase numbers would be to modify EMT training, schedules and agency locations.

“We need volunteers, but the legislators need to somehow step up and help these towns to try to recruit people, make it easier for them, make the training easier, make it rewarding,” Joseph Walsh, with the EMS Council, said.

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