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EMT, paramedic agencies continue to see increase in call volume and staff shortage amid pandemic

Frontline workers say staff shortage was an issue even before the pandemic began. Cullman Regional is offering $2,000 to hire paramedics.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Like much of the country, EMT and paramedic agencies in North Alabama continue to see a shortage in staff, but an increase in call volume.

Our WZDX News reporter has more on how our frontline workers are handling the pandemic close to a year later.

"Unfortunately a lot of it is probably significant to the COVID - these calls. But we have seen just this year in 2021 we've seen about a 10 percent increase in our call volume," says , HEMSI Community Relations Officer, Don Webster.

Webster says there's been an increase in emergency and non-emergency call volume since last fall. It's a big difference compared to the beginning of the pandemic when HEMSI received fewer calls.

"We've added additional units to help take care of that 10 percent call increase, so we would like to increase our staffing and employees," he says.

Webster says HEMSI is also experiencing a shortage of EMT and paramedics. Cullman Regional feeling the impact as well after losing a non-emergent-transfer provider.

"The other ambulance provider in our community decided to leave the market in December, and so now our ambulance service doesn't have any back-up," says Cullman Regional Vice President Marketing & Public Relations, Lindsey Dossey.

Cullman Regional purchased another ambulance, and is now offering a $2,000 bonus for new paramedics who become employed.

"We just want to be able to provide excellent paramedic service to our community, and we're hoping that is enough incentive to come and join our team," says Dossey.

Click to apply to HEMSI, or as a paramedic with Cullman Regional.