Chatham EMS working to increase number of paramedics on staff

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Nationwide there is a shortage of Emergency Medical Service workers, and in the Coastal Empire, Chatham EMS is working to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Chatham Emergency Services (EMS) has around 50 paramedics. For them to have a full staff they would need around 60. Chief of Operations, Phil Koster said to make sure they are still adequately serving the public, some employees have to work overtime or they use their part-time staff more.

He said part of the reason for fewer employees here and nationwide it due to money.

“The amount to which Medicaid and Medicare reimburses Chatham EMS and EMS across the country is so low that EMS organizations can not afford to pay paramedics the wage they truly deserve,” Koster said.   

But he added that Chatham EMS is working to make sure their staff doesn’t get any smaller by offering Paramedic and EMT classes. 

“We will train someone to become a paramedic if they’re already an EMT and we won’t charge them anything for it. We’ll pay for the tuition and so on and then provide them a full-time job upon completion,” Koster explained.

Despite having a smaller staff and sometimes more responsibilities, Chatham EMS still made time to thank it’s employees with a cookout to celebrate National EMS week.

“We work a very senseless job a lot of days and so to be honored for this week out of the year it’s a pretty cool experience. It’s cool to have people come and recognize you,” paramedic Kathryn Gilmer said.

Koster wants to let Chatham residents know that even though they are not fully staffed with paramedics–it does not affect response times when arriving at calls.

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