Vol EMS question

Kavsuvb

Forum Lieutenant
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I have a question for ya. Why is it that Vol EMS is becoming a dying service in this country. It seems like and especially where I am from in Connecticut and in New England region, it seems like Being a Vol EMT is a Dying breed. I have seen many Vol EMS squads have dwindling membership and the Population dynamics changing. Many times, EMT's like myself have no place to keep up our EMT skills and I wonder why Vol EMS is dying in this country.
 

mgr22

Forum Deputy Chief
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I have a question for ya. Why is it that Vol EMS is becoming a dying service in this country. It seems like and especially where I am from in Connecticut and in New England region, it seems like Being a Vol EMT is a Dying breed. I have seen many Vol EMS squads have dwindling membership and the Population dynamics changing. Many times, EMT's like myself have no place to keep up our EMT skills and I wonder why Vol EMS is dying in this country.
I wouldn't characterize volunteer EMS as a "dying breed." Some regions and some agencies struggle with recruiting and retention, but many do just fine.
 

mgr22

Forum Deputy Chief
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Just a guess, but I personally have no interest in taking the higher risk of being sued while not being reimbursed.
I know I'm risking coming across as "Mr. Volunteer," but what makes you think volunteers have a higher risk of being sued?
 

Aprz

Forum Deputy Chief
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In my area, even paid EMS is dying. People just aren't interested in becoming EMTs/paramedics anymore.
 

mgr22

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In my area, even paid EMS is dying. People just aren't interested in becoming EMTs/paramedics anymore.
Not true here. I guess there's some regional variation involving EMS in general, like in other industries.
 

Aprz

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Not true here. I guess there's some regional variation involving EMS in general, like in other industries.
Outliers usually exist. There is a national paramedic shortage. I think we are starting to see it with EMTs as well.
 

CCCSD

Forum Asst. Chief
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Blame the medic shortage on FDs that require it so they can provide 4 man paramedic engines to respond in a paramedic staffed ambulance system...
 

Aprz

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I'm not saying you're wrong, but how did you reach that conclusion?
If you follow the forum, it's been brought up several times in the past couple of months to year. You can see examples searching the word "shortage" here. Also there is a post on it https://emtlife.com/threads/paramedic-shortage.48033/#post-681040. We've been feeling it hard in this area, it's been brought up plenty here. You can see in job offering and training that some places are now paying people to be paramedic interns (Santa Barbara, CA) and even pay them to go to EMT school in some places. Since it's been brought up here, in my news feed, at work, and in other EME groups I am in, I had just assume that this was not just a problem here and there.
 

mgr22

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If you follow the forum, it's been brought up several times in the past couple of months to year. You can see examples searching the word "shortage" here. Also there is a post on it https://emtlife.com/threads/paramedic-shortage.48033/#post-681040. We've been feeling it hard in this area, it's been brought up plenty here. You can see in job offering and training that some places are now paying people to be paramedic interns (Santa Barbara, CA) and even pay them to go to EMT school in some places. Since it's been brought up here, in my news feed, at work, and in other EME groups I am in, I had just assume that this was not just a problem here and there.
Maybe you're right, but I was hoping for data to back that up -- e.g., stats showing fewer EMS providers available, or more patients waiting longer for ambulances, or fewer ambulances on the road, etc. I haven't been able to find hard evidence of widespread shortages. If you take another look at the thread you referenced, you'll see disagreement there, too.

I don't doubt there are shortages in some places, but just because the issue has been brought up anecdotally on this forum doesn't mean it's a major problem.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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Vol EMS is dying in this country.
I'll answer this one with a simple answer: call volumes are rising, education requirements are rising, and many people don't have the time to keep up with both, while working full time. Not only that, but EMS isn't cheap (even a volunteer system isn't free), so many towns are outsourcing the EMS service to a zero bidding for profit entity, for the short term gains, only to find they aren't meeting their requirements and the cycle repeats again.

While I have spend the last 12 or so years working for 100% paid entities, I have no problems with volunteers or volunteer EMS, provided they do the same job as their paid counterparts. Same response times, same competencies, same training standards, etc. I've seen plenty of poorly run paid EMS agencies, as well as poorly run volunteer EMS agencies; as well as paid EMS with abysmal response times (but it's ok, because they are paid, and only doing the best they can with the resources they are given, just ask them :rolleyes: ), and volunteers with fewer resources and larger response areas.

The truth is, EMS (as a whole) will provide whatever the AHJ will accept. Sometime a volunteer system is acceptable. sometimes the AHJ will push for a career system. and sometimes that career system will result in fewer EMS resources than the volunteer system had. But here is the question for you: if the town/county/area were to fund their EMS system 24/7, with enough career employees and staffed units to do the job properly, why would you want a volunteer system?

We've been feeling it hard in this area, it's been brought up plenty here. You can see in job offering and training that some places are now paying people to be paramedic interns (Santa Barbara, CA) and even pay them to go to EMT school in some places.
With all due respect, there isn't a paramedic shortage. There is a shortage of paramedics willing to work for crappy companies for low pay for long hours, where their employer will post their job before their body is cold after they drop of a MI after working 80 hours weeks including forced OT, and have ran their butts off the entire shift. While not every system is that bad, you can't disagree that low pay + crappy conditions = the good paramedics look for better positions elsewhere....

And as @CCCSD said, when the FD requires 4 PMs on an engine, and pays their guys much much more than the ambulance companies (and give them beds to sleep in), can you see why ambulance companies are having trouble keeping and hiring people?
 

Peak

ED/Prehospital Registered Nurse
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I think there are a shortage in a lot of service related fields, and volunteer organizations are taking a hit too. Shortages aren't just about the numbers coming out of schools or training programs though, poor retention is a big problem for a lot of fields. The work has become more stressful, the pay stagnated (for the career guys anyway), and the intrinsic reward gets diluted.

There are big needs in volunteer fire departments. Hospitals have fewer volunteers than a couple of decades ago. It doesn't surprise me that volunteer EMS is taking a hit.

I know several teachers that were very passionate about teaching until they started working and want to leave after just a few years. The same goes with nurses, RTs, and plenty of EMS. I know several docs across several specialties who are trying to retire in their 30s or 40s because medicine isn't what they thought or wanted it to be.

Add in things like politics and costs and it really isn't a surprise that we see fewer volunteer EMTs or paramedics.
 
OP
Kavsuvb

Kavsuvb

Forum Lieutenant
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Where I am from in New England region and in the State of Connecticut. I have seen many Volunteer EMS squads struggle to attract people and I am wondering if the Population dynamics have something to do with why Volunteer EMS is dying. Now I know things are different from region to region and some regions are doing well and others are dying. I just think Vol EMS is dying in this country simply because of Population dynamics and the population is shifting.
 

mgr22

Forum Deputy Chief
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Where I am from in New England region and in the State of Connecticut. I have seen many Volunteer EMS squads struggle to attract people and I am wondering if the Population dynamics have something to do with why Volunteer EMS is dying. Now I know things are different from region to region and some regions are doing well and others are dying. I just think Vol EMS is dying in this country simply because of Population dynamics and the population is shifting.
What do you mean by "population dynamics"?
 

DrParasite

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What makes you think the population dynamics are different in Connecticut than in the mid-atlantic states? or the west coast? or north west? or even the south east? or even the midwest?
 

hometownmedic5

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EMS requires me to arrive quickly, sober, properly(subective) dressed and commit to the call for its duration, regardless of what that might mean(think places with long transport time to specialty centers without a HEMS solution). That, right there, is enough for me to have given up any of my previous volunteer "jobs". If you want me to come to your house in the middle of the night, probably carry you out, then fix your wagon and transport you, I demand a paycheck. But wait, there's more.

When you're good at something, don't do it for free, as a rule. You can choose to make exceptions based on the rules that you decide are correct for you, including all the way up to volunteering full time if that's your thing; but overall, as a rule, if you're good at something, don't do it for free. There are inevitably two results, generally not individually. One is that the quality of your work will suffer and two, you will decrease the value of everybody else's work.

As an individual, you can put the standards of your work above all else and not let it suffer because of compensation. As a group, there is no end to the list of examples of people who could not, because there are still volunteers out there doing hacky work and stating words to the effect of "Hey, I'm a volunteer" as their escape hatch.

One person may not care about volunteers but for as long as there is someone willing to do a job for free, the group(society) will wonder why they are paying you to do the job when the other guy will do it without sticking his hand out. Have you ever seen a volunteer bricklayer, plumber, or mechanic? Not someone you know who is doing you a favor, or even somebody one or two degrees separated, but a total stranger whose number you called and who showed up immediately, did the job you asked, and then walked away without asking for payment? Why? because there are no volunteer bricklayers.
 

mgr22

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When you're good at something, don't do it for free, as a rule. You can choose to make exceptions based on the rules that you decide are correct for you, including all the way up to volunteering full time if that's your thing; but overall, as a rule, if you're good at something, don't do it for free. There are inevitably two results, generally not individually. One is that the quality of your work will suffer and two, you will decrease the value of everybody else's work.

As an individual, you can put the standards of your work above all else and not let it suffer because of compensation. As a group, there is no end to the list of examples of people who could not, because there are still volunteers out there doing hacky work and stating words to the effect of "Hey, I'm a volunteer" as their escape hatch.
I disagree with pretty much everything in those two paragraphs. There's no reason quality of work has to suffer because it's done for free. And I suspect there's just as long a list of paid people who do "hacky work."

There are incompetent volunteers, but being a volunteer doesn't make one incompetent.
 

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