FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- Long hours are taking their toll on paramedics and EMTs.
“It’s become harder with overtime mandatory work and lack of staff, but we’re persevering,” Ian Case, the local International Association of EMTs and Paramedics chapter president, said.
But now that Fort Wayne City Council has stepped in to hold Three Rivers Ambulance Authority accountable for its response times, relief is on the way.
“They’re really helping a lot right now just by pushing this forward and making us make changes that need to be done,” EMT Brandi Bowers said.
One possible solution to relieve some of this is a tiered system that would match the resources with the situation.
“If you break your arm, you don’t go to your cardiologist, you go to your family practitioner or an ER,” TRAA Executive Director Gary Booher said. “So the same holds true. Right now we’re sending a cardiologist to every call even though they don’t need it.”
Mike Bureau with TRAA says the company has more staff coming in.
“Currently in orientation, there are six EMTs and two paramedics,” he said. “That is the largest orientation we have held in quite some time.”
Some EMTs and paramedics have left to go to other agencies or just left the field completely.
Paramedic April Gregg says she understands.
“We all would much rather work here,” Gregg said. “There’s many people that would love … to come back. I’ve talked to a couple myself. But it’s just hard to deal with in this environment.”
EMT Brandi Bowers says the response team is like a family.
“We have pushed through everything together,” Bowers said. “We hold each other up, we hold each other accountable. You won’t find a stronger workforce.”
TRAA will come back to City Council in four to six weeks for updates on its progress.