FEMA ambulances leaving this month despite impact of staffing shortages at Wake County EMS

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Staffing shortages continue to impact Wake County EMS and its response times.

CBS 17 told you when FEMA sent four ambulances to help, but we’re learning that those ambulances will leave at the end of the month. Leaders with Wake County EMS say they believe it’s because their call volume is trending down.

“If they leave, then hopefully they’re not needed. That’s a sign we’re moving in the right direction as far as the call volume is concerned,” said Brian Brooks with Wake County EMS.

At its peak, Wake County answered more than 11,000 calls in August. Those calls were at more than 10,000 for September and October, but as of last Friday, they’ve had only 5,500 calls for November.

“We think that we may be returning to pre-COVID, restrictions lifted type levels. Typically, the holidays are not quite as busy,” Brooks said.

Wake County says more than 50 of its 450 jobs need to be filled and crews may have to take on a few extra calls until they’re able to bring more people on staff. CBS 17 asked how they’re working to improve response times and the county said it’ll immediately answer patients who are sick or critically injured over those who hurt their back or twist an ankle.

“The people who are having heart attacks or bad car wrecks, those people are never waiting,” Brooks said.

Wake County EMS is offering paramedic sign-on bonuses and referral bonuses for employees who can recruit someone.

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