LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- With 410 new applications, the window closed Friday for the new EMT recruit class with Louisville Metro EMS.
Jody Meiman, the Louisville Metro EMS executive director, said leaders are very confident in the quality of applicants to build a new class. Next, recruits will take a written test, a physical exam, then do an interview. Meiman hopes to have the class start in the beginning of 2017, which would allow the recruits to become certified around March.
This new recruit class will bring the department back up to full staff for EMTs.
"The crews out on the street are doing a great job keeping up,” Meiman said. “We've had these vacancies for a little bit, and they've done such a good job accepting the extra work load."
As the call volume has increased by more than 11 percent since 2012, the number of EMTs and paramedics has not changed much, according to Meiman. Many emergency workers are forced to work overtime to cover shifts.
"The beautiful thing of having to pick from over 400 people – to put some really, really good people on the street – that’s going to cut that overtime down and reduce their work load,” Meiman said.
Call Volume statistics for Louisville Metro EMS services:
- 2012 – 107,035 calls
- 2013 – 105,107 calls
- 2014 – 107,944 calls
- 2015 – 117,571 calls
Once the EMT positions are filled, there are still 28 open paramedic positions. Leaders with the department hope to start a paramedic class in the future to fill the need.
"Once we get this recruit class in, and they graduate, and they get on the street and get released, we have a really good opportunity to do some professional development within our own organization,” Meiman said.
In the meantime, the city and the Teamsters Local Union 783 are working on a third attempt at a new contract. The second version was voted down by members last Thursday. The union’s president, John Stovall, said the union leaders and city leaders are cooperating to renegotiate and reword some items in the seven-year contract.
"The starting rate was real low,” Stovall said. “And we got the starting rate brought back up. And now it's trying to compensate the senior people that have been there and make the new hires feel more appreciated and valued. And to know that this is a destination job that they can make a career out of it. So they feel comfortable and valued in what they do.”
Stovall hopes to have a third version worked out in two weeks in order to present it again to members before taking another vote.
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