Clarksburg looking at program to help EMS personnel shortage

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 6:14 PM EST
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CLARKSBURG, W.Va (WDTV) - For months now, 5 news has been highlighting the shortage of first responders in our local communities.

The City of Clarksburg is looking at a program to help address the issue.

It’s called the Advance Life Support Response Unit.

The Clarksburg Fire Department is looking to train firefighters as paramedics.

Instructors for the West Virginia Public Service Training say there’s been a shortage of EMS personnel within the state for several years.

“In the medical field nationwide right now, there is definitely a shortage from nursing to all the way down to all types of healthcare workers,” said Clarksburg Fire Captain Patrick San Julian.

Officials from the EMS Advisory Council say EMS personnel is down about 3,500 providers from 10 years ago.

“A lot of this falls upon the fire department and local ems to come up with creative ways to continue to provide patient care and stabilization,” said San Julian.

San Julian says the department has formed a committee to explore the feasibility of creating an advance life support response unit.

“We’ve actually been asked by city management to review how we’re responding to call for medical assistance. We run an average of 10-13 calls a day so, it is a lot of our job,” said San Julian.

The goal is to have firefighters trained and certified as paramedics to respond in an a-l-s unit to provide advance medical care until an ambulance arrives to transfer patient care or continue care to the hospital.

“We’ve been running the same way since the early ‘90s and we’ve just been kind of revaluating how we’re doing things maybe looking into further training, further opportunities,” said San Julian.

Captain San Julian says so far the fire department has established a committee with firefighters who have expertise in the medical field to see where they can improve with what they have then add equipment and training as they move forward.

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