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State funding is needed to end first responder staffing shortage, EMS workers say

Emergency personnel say the funding will go to hiring and training 1,000 employees to help with the staffing shortage.

MICHIGAN, USA — On Monday, emergency medical services personnel called for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to allocate funding to hire and train more employees.

The Michigan Association of Ambulance Services (MAAS), the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs (MAFC) and the Michigan EMS Practitioners Association (MIEMSPA) asked both Gov. Whitmer and the state Legislature to provide at least $20 million in funding. 

The groups hope to bring an additional 1,000 workers to the field.

MAAS president Jason MacDonald said there are "very few" paramedics choosing to join the workforce during the nationwide staffing crisis.

“Michigan EMS agencies have a plan to reverse this dangerous trend, we just need funding assistance from the state to make it happen,” MacDonald said.

RELATED: EMTs Needed: Frontline worker shortage worsens as pandemic persists

With 13 paramedic training programs in Michigan, the funding could also allow additional training programs to begin across the state.

“We need more paramedics and EMTs in the field as quickly as possible to keep providing emergency response across the state,” said MAFC President Jeff Roberts, Chief of the City of Wixom Fire Department. “This funding ask would help us quickly get new recruits into the field so that we can begin to put an end to this staffing crisis.” 

EMT training can be completed in 20 weeks, while paramedic training takes 72 weeks. Emergency personnel are hoping that the additional employees could be working in the field within two years, if the funding is granted.

RELATED: EMS leaders say statewide staffing shortage is worsening by the day

While the state allocated $12.9 million in EMS services for the 2022 budget, officials say that budget will be used to increase pay to retain current employees.

The staffing shortage for EMTs and ambulance workers has been ongoing throughout the pandemic.

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