Campbell Co., VA - Changes are coming to Campbell County EMS. Tuesday night the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to grant Public Safety permission to hire three more full-time EMS staff starting July 1.
Currently there are 17 members, but directors say that's about nine short of where they should be for their call volume.
The County is currently paying about $135 thousand a year in overtime and for part-time help. For the same amount of money, EMS could hire three full time employees.
Campbell County EMS has had its ups and downs the past seven years of existence.
According to Public Safety Director Tracy Fairchild, today they average 17 minutes per call, down from 20 minutes per call in 2012.
"Prior to 2006, 2007, we could have had 30 minutes to an hour and a half response time, so we have come a long way," Fairchild said.
To get the time down the Public Safety Department had to change some things, but now they're stretched thin.
"It puts a strain on the public safety employees, running around, and it's hard for them to take any time off," Fairchild said.
On top of being under-staffed, Campbell County also doesn't have enough trucks. There are just two 24 hour trucks, and one eight hour truck that runs Monday through Friday.
"Our call volume is up to about 10,000 calls a year," Fairchild explained.
County Administrator David Laurrell says they are now moving forward with step two of the process.
"We want to make sure that we produce what we said we were going to produce," Laurrell said.
Part of dealing with the problem includes researching funding options to hire six more employees and buy a new EMS truck, and estimated cost of $385 thousand.
"It's an ever evolving process. Campbell County is growing, the call volume is growing and we're just trying to meet those demands," Laurrell said.
The EMS Department will make their recommendation to the board this fall, and they hope to be in a position to make the extra positions a reality by January.
"We feel very confident that we'll be able to work this out," Fairchild said.
As for how to pay for the added staff and equipment, options being considered include using tax dollars or making changes to the billing system.
Officials say the volunteers are a big help, but there just aren't as many as there once was.