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Georgetown County Fire puts one ambulance on break due to staff shortage

Published: May. 23, 2022 at 11:11 PM EDT
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GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WMBF) - The Georgetown County Fire and EMS Department is having to make the difficult decision to down an ambulance periodically.

Assistant Fire Chief Tony Hucks says it’s due to staffing issues that have been ongoing for a while.

“Some days with people working over due to lack of staffing, sometimes we have to go down a truck,” said Hucks. “After people work so many hours. Safely, we can’t work them with so many hours.”

In addition to overtime, the department has had to reallocate resources among the fourteen firehouses, five of which house ambulances in the county. Currently, they are in need of more paramedics, who have a higher level of training, to staff the ambulances.

“Unfortunately being that we have more EMTs than paramedics, that results in putting BLS units on the streets to cover,” Hucks said.

There is a fresh batch of EMTs and paramedics currently training, but it will be a while before they hit the road.

“When we do have lack of staffing, we do have to go down our basic 10 truck, is what we call it here at headquarters and unfortunately that has happened,” Hucks said. “We’ve got some folks in EMT school right now. We must get them through here soon.”

Hucks says if you call 911 in Georgetown County, response times are not affected by the shortage.

“We’re doing everything we can to keep trucks on the road and we have very well-trained and competent people coming to them,” said Hucks. “And we do have paramedics, that can come in need in the event that they do need advanced care.”

Georgetown County Fire & EMS are still looking for new EMTs and paramedics. If you are interested, you are encouraged to apply.

No experience is necessary. They will provide the training you need. For more information on how to apply click here.

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