Greene County needs emergency medical technicians
Ted Remsnyder reports for Columbia-Greene Media that Greene County has a lingering shortage of emergency medical technicians to work on first responder crews. Local EMS agencies say staffing is a major issue. “I’m sure each agency could use three to five more EMTs,” said Greene County Legislature Chair Patrick Linger, a Republican from New Baltimore. The issue is not pandemic-related. “I think it was 2013 when they started the first Greene County Ambulance Task Force,” Linger said. “This issue has been around for a very long time. There was a task force set up and they did a lot of mulling over data and they came up with a plan to move forward. Four years ago it had boiled down to two separate proposals, one for the mountaintop and one for the northern end of the valley. We had Catskill, Cairo and Durham at the time did not want to take part in the system, which kind of split the county in half. At the end of the day, when tallies and votes were taken by the town boards that would have to agree to move into that type of program, there was not enough support for it and it died on the vine.” The state used to provide reimbursements for EMS training, and Coxsackie Legislator Thomas Hobart suggested Greene County might have to do that now. “I think ultimately as a Legislature, we should consider a scholarship fund in order to get the people who have been deterred because of the costs of it, to make them whole,” Hobart said at a Dec. 1 meeting of the Public Safety Committee. “At least that’s a start in the right direction to provide services to all of the agencies and to ultimately the people of Greene County.” It may take more money than just training costs to lure people to the profession, as most EMTs in the county make barely over minimum wage. “I don’t understand why the wages are so low,” Durham Legislator Patricia Handel said. “It’s such a needed service that I’m incredulous.” Read more about this story at HudsonValley360.com.