Lee County dealing with paramedic shortage - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Lee County dealing with paramedic shortage

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EMS vehicles in the Keokuk location on 16th and Morgan St. EMS vehicles in the Keokuk location on 16th and Morgan St.
Dinwiddie said calls have increased in the county. Dinwiddie said calls have increased in the county.
The trucks get a lot of work everyday. The trucks get a lot of work everyday.
Bill Young talking to board of supervisors. Bill Young talking to board of supervisors.
LEE COUNTY, Ia. (WGEM) -

Lee County is dealing with a paramedic shortage and officials are asking the county for help.

EMT Jason Dinwiddie said timing is everything when responding to an emergency.  

"Absolutely," Dinwiddie said. "Seconds matter. That's when we rely on our first responders and volunteer services."

Officials said they are dealing with a paramedic shortage and it's impacting service. They reached out to the county Tuesday for help. 

"I came to the board today to ask for approval and change the language in our contracts so we want to be able to use two EMT's at one time during the times that we don't have paramedics available," Executive Director of EMS, Bill Young said. "This is becoming a state problem and a national problem."

Dinwiddie said the the call volume has gone up and this change will help them respond to more emergencies. 

"We do 24 hour shifts, so it wasn't uncommon 15 years ago to come in and not do a single call," Dinwiddie said. "But now we are doing 10-12 a shift." 

Dinwiddie said the number of first responders around the county has helped during this time of need. 

"We have three ambulance stations throughout the county where there are 11 fire departments," Dinwiddie said. "There response times are a lot quicker due to their locations."

EMS director Bill Young said he is going to take a different approach when it comes to hiring employees. 

"We are just going to have to do a better job at recruiting and try to participate in job fairs and things like that to understand that this is a career that is rewarding and you are able to help people," Young said. 

The county board plans to make the requested changes to the contract and vote on it during next Tuesday's meeting.

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