Dorchester County EMS is facing staffing shortage, increasing pay to attract more workers

Many companies across the state are facing staffing shortages in the last couple of months and the issue is expected to continue in the upcoming period.

The Covid-19 risk and a lot of overtime hours also caused hospitals across South Carolina to face shortages and they are doing everything in their power to attract more people and keep the existing employees.

In an effort to combat the negative trend, Dorchester County EMS now announced they are about to increase the pay to attract new workers and keep the existing ones since the staffing shortage has been an issue for some time now.

The EMS staff shortage resulted with longer waiting time for an intervention. According to data, people sometimes have to wait for an ambulance up to ten minutes to get a patient who was less than half a mile away.

Dorchester County EMS Director Brian Watts says it has been addressed, through implementing a “significant” raise. With the raise, they hope to retain employees and bring others in.

He said raises went out starting July 1. Starting pay for a paramedic jumped to just under $24 an hour and over $17 for an EMT.

Watts said that the increased pay helped them a lot even since the increase was implemented, but added they are still looking to hire since they are 16 down.

“It is increasing response times. It does mean there’s less units available. We are working the employees we have harder than we should,” Watts said.

Dorchester County EMS internal data shows that average response time in September was about nine minutes and fifteen seconds.

“We want to make nine out of 10 calls in less than nine minutes,” he said. “We make about 74% of those.”

The department are currently using different kinds of channel to attract new people including social media and radio spots. The department recently started a local campaign focusing on the public safety.

Alex Tuhell

Co-founder and publisher

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