Louisville Metro EMS in 'dire' need of new hires - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville Metro EMS in 'dire' need of new hires

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Metro Emergency Medical Services have opened the application process for the second recruitment class this year. This class will train full-time Basic EMTs.

"The great thing about our job is it's different every day,” said Metro EMS Lt. Col. Chad Scott. “We get a lot of different types of calls. It is demanding work, it is physical at times. It is also stressful at times. But you see everything from a cut finger to someone who is in cardiac arrest."

Applicants do not need to have previous experience in the field. You will go through a screening process, an agility test, written test and interview process. The class runs five days a week starting in January 2017.

Once an applicant is certified, then you will transition into a full-time position. During the training, you are paid $11.81 per hour, and once you are hired full time, you are paid $13.95 per hour.

"The type of person that would be great for this job would have the willingness to help people, that has great interpersonal skills, that like to talk to people, that are good listeners, that really like the challenge of the stressful and every-day changing work environment,” Scott said.

According to city budget documents, 147 EMTs would be considered full staff, but Metro EMS currently has 16 vacant EMT positions. Scott said they will respond to at least 120,000 calls by the end of this year.

Four years ago, they were responding to 98,000 calls per year, he said. With the increasing call volume and low staffing levels, this recruitment class is necessary for the safety of emergency workers and the public.

"I use the term dire, because it is,” said Justin Scharrer, the recording secretary for Teamsters Local 783. “Right now, morale is pretty low because there's a lot of forcing going on for EMTs and paramedics because of inadequate, lack of staffing. So what we're trying to do is use this movement to put more people into the service which will help make up the forced overtime."

Scharrer explained EMTs work 12-hour shifts and many times will have to stay over another four hours to help cover the next shift.

"Anytime you're working that much, it becomes taxing, not only on you but your home life, your family life. It depreciates your own health and well-being,” Scharrer said.

The last union contract expired in December 2015, and negotiations are ongoing. The first contract was rejected by the members with a 202-2 vote. The city and union agreed to try again. So members will vote next week on a second attempt at a new contract.

"We've been negotiating for the last year,” Scharrer said. “We realize as a union, that the pay is sub-standard. So we're trying to improve that. We're also trying to improve incentives."

The city and union agree that if they have a full EMT staff, that will benefit everyone. "I think by bringing more people into the system, and being able to add those resources, we'll be able to lessen that stress over time,” Scott said.

"If they have an emergency, they want the most-skilled technician or paramedic to show up,” said Scharrer, referring to the public. “They want them professional, they want them quick, and they want to respond as promptly as possible. Right now, that is still happening because our members have stepped up to the plate to make that call. But what we're needing now is more skill and more ability."

There are requirements in order to apply. You can find the application here.

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