The help wanted signs are out. There’s a major shortage of EMT’s and paramedics in Michigan and it’s a problem felt here in Lansing.
Mery Ambulance Paramedic Jeff Carrow said the shortage of EMS workers has lasted a few years.
“everybody’s trying to make do with what we can.”
This mean the employees are putting in extra work hours.
“We have sort of a heart for what we do,” said Carrow. “Wwhen there’s a need to make up for those things, it’s kind of something we take personally.”
He wants to make sure the Lansing community is covered. This is something Mercy Ambulance has done for more than 50 years. Dennis Palmer is currently the President of the company.
“We were in our prime when we were double medic, which means we had two paramedics for every ambulance that we staffed,” Palmer said was about six years ago.
Things have since changed.
“Today and in the last year, I’ve noticed that it’s even difficult to man a rig with a paramedic aboard,” Palmer said. “Today, it’s really becoming a crisis.”
The number of people in michigan taking the medical first responder exam has dropped to nearly 50% in the last few years according to the state. Palmer said another one of the problems is the national registry exam.
“I do feel like the test is too difficult and it doesn’t need to be,” said Palmer.
Carrow added, “It’s one that when you’re done taking it, you don’t want to ever have to take it again.”
There is an upside to EMS workers becoming scarce.
Palmer said, “You’re hearing bonuses of as much as $5,000 to $10,000 to recruit a paramedic.”
As long as this is an issue, Carrow shares some words of advice to his fellow EMS workers.
“Rest, go up north, go hiking, do whatever it is you do to unwind,” said Carrow. “If you don’t do that, it does get taxing on your emotions and your stress level.”
The state is working on recruitment by giving money to those pursing an EMT or paramedics certification. They’re also working with high schools to host first responder courses.
If you think this could be the job for you, EMTs make about $30,000 a year and for paramedics, it’s closer to $40,000.