LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- The number of EMS workers continues to drop in Arkansas.
March 31 marked an important deadline for the profession. That is when EMT’s, advanced EMT’s, and paramedics have to renew their licenses. If the person does not renew their license they can not practice.
According to a Facebook post by the Arkansas Ambulance Association, 950 people did not make this deadline. These numbers are preliminary, with some people still waiting to be cleared.
“EMS does struggle especially in the rural areas to create the revenues to make their companies survive and to offer competitive wages,” explained MEMS Director John Swanson.
Others say its more than the money.
“A lot of times that’s the complaint. It’s the stress or the hours,” explains a paramedic in training.
Despite those factors, those who are in the industry say they love it.
“It’s a very unique position,” he says.
Others say it’s more than just a job.
“I thought it was going to be just a job just like any other job but it’s not just a job, it’s a family,” said an EMT in training.
Many hope the industry will turn around. MEMS is working to offer more options to keep people in the field. Swanson said the company will soon be offering part-time EMS positions.