Several Green Country Ambulance Companies are making changes to deal with staffing shortages.
Creek County Ambulance Service says it tries to have one paramedic on every ambulance, but when that isn't possible, it’s using two EMT’s instead.
Creek County Ambulance has several openings right now for paramedics and EMT's and not only are they looking to hire new applicants, they're also working to retain the ones they have.
"Day to day we all show up to work hope and pray our partner is with us. some days they are, some days they're not,” said Creek County Ambulance Paramedic, Scott Forrester.
Forrester says the pandemic has forced them to make changes.
"We've been having to shift our roles, move some people into a greater role than they had before and that's putting two EMT's together on a truck,” said Forrester.
"It can be hard sometimes being understaffed but it always seems to work out,” said Daxon Chapman.
Chapman is one of 32 Paramedics on staff.
He says EMTs know basic lifesaving skills, but paramedics can do more invasive procedures.
He says dispatch evaluates the call in instances when they're short staffed.
"We have an EMD, emergency medical dispatch, that they screen the calls and send the appropriate units," said Chapman.
Creek County Ambulance currently has at least four openings for paramedics and EMT's.
EMSA has around 20 openings for paramedics in the Tulsa area right now.
Forrester says because of education changes during the pandemic, ambulance companies around the state are seeing fewer applicants.
"This is not a school that you can distance learn as well, a lot of it requires hands on skills training," said Forrester.
Although they're short staffed, Forrester says they're doing everything they can to save lives.
"We definitely have some of the best equipment on the road today, our protocols are top notch. We are definitely going to provide the best care we can to our county's citizens," said Forrester.
EMSA is offering a $20k signing bonus for new applicants, and while Creek County says they aren’t offering a bonus, they’re making improvements to their education and insurance programs to encourage people to stay.
“We are offering a better education program, a better insurance program, the bonuses aren’t the necessity of this job,” said Forrester. “Most of us didn’t come to work for the dollar, we come to work to take care of people.”
Right now Creek County is averaging nearly 1,100 calls a month, which is on track to break their call record of 12 thousand calls set last year.
If you’d like to see some of the openings available at Creek County EMS, click here: https://www.creekcountyems.com/