Are High School Courses the Answer to EMS Shortage?

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 4:00 PM EST
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The EMS worker shortage continues to be an issue.  Over the past couple of weeks we have brought you stories concerning a shortage of EMS workers within local communities, and education programs that are doing their best to fill those shortages. This week NewsSource8′s Brian Bouchard looks to see if high school programs are the answer.

“We need personnel and we just don’t have it at this point…I don’t have any answers as to why, or everyone has their own theories on what is causing the shortages. I know that young people don’t typically to stay around these rural communities if they get an education” - Edward Noyes – Director, Patten Ambulance Service

With a shortage of EMS workers pushing some communities into dire straights, the conversation has shifted to what can be done to fill the gaps. College level programs are doing their best to train their students and put them out into the community, but with some programs only having a dozen students, others are looking for ways to get kids interested in EMS from a younger age.

“Our EMT Program started out really well a few years back…” - Ammie London – Director, Region Two School of Applied Technology

Ammie London is the Director of the Region Two School of Applied Technology in Houlton. The school partners with a number of schools in the area to provide students with technical training and certifications while they are still enrolled in high school. The school operated a Department of Education approved EMT program for a number of years but has since had to put the program under suspension due to lack of interest among students.

“Which puts some of our students who really had a passion and a drive to take it at a disadvantage, because there’s no chance to get the learning, get the knowledge” says London.

The course was approximately 450 hours over the extent of the academic year and was held at the Houlton Fire and Ambulance Service. Upon completion of the course students would be able to take the National Registry EMT exam and would become basic EMTs.

“I want to students to have every possibility available and the process to install a program from the DOE is so extensive that I hate to let any programs go. The shortage of EMTs in the area and then we have a shortage of students, I can see how we can really work well together.” says London.

London went on to say that if enough students were interested that she would work to reinstate the EMT program.

“I feel like this is where I can be of help, or I can at least attempt to help with the shortage. Help with some of these younger people that need some focus or some career pathways. So I want to be an answer to this problem” says London.

Edward Noyes, Director of Patten Ambulance Service also had this word of advice for any young people who might be interested in becoming EMTs.

“If you think your capable of that or certainly want to give it a try, it’s a real rewarding career to be in and I think it would be something that people would find they’d enjoy if they gave it a try.” says Noyes.

Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8

In our first story concerning the EMS Shortage, we informed you of a situation involving the Towns of Patten and Sherman. Tonight we bring you an update on that situation from Patten Town Manager, Darrell Mims.

“We recently received a notice from Northern Maine Community College offering to pay all expenses dealing with EMS Training which is truly a great deal for us here at Patten…so now we need bodies, we need people that can participate that can help, not just Patten but all the municipalities around us…We need really anyone, we need drivers, we need EMS people that want to be trained, we need everyone to participate. It’s our community and if we work together, we can get through this.” says Mims.

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