County coping with shortage of emergency responders, nurses
Mar 05, 2019 7:30 am
Jeanette Wolfberg is reporting for The Columbia Paper the Columbia County Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee spent much of its meeting last month discussing the shortage of emergency responders and nurses at the county jail. Harry Franklin of Gallatin asked if the shortages of firefighters and emergency medical technicians has caused or can cause long response times. “Is there a crisis already?” he asked. “There’s no crisis, but we are looking at staffing,” said Deputy Fire Coordinator George Keeler. In Columbia County, all firefighters are volunteers and most must work at additional jobs. A lot don't work locally. They go to Albany or Dutchess county, and "...when an emergency comes, we don’t know who will show up,” a committee member said. To help with retention of emergency workers, the county is contemplating increased benefits for volunteers. Undersheriff John Davi said it is difficult to find enough nurses for the Columbia County Jail. The county currently has only three nurses on staff, too few to assure the coverage mandated by the state. Davi requested the committee approve a plan to contract with two nurse employment agencies to help with the shortage. Read the full story in The Columbia Paper.