CHENANGO FORKS (WBNG) — “I found that a lot of the information was actually transferred to the field when we were dealing with these sensitive cases,” said Michelle Elsmore, a neurobiology student at the University of Binghamton.
Elsmore was not on campus, but instead stood in a large room in the Chenango Ambulance Services Building in Chenango Forks. She works with the company while continuing her work at the university.
She says she felt inspired to work in EMS after a traumatic incident she experienced with a close friend. Now in this role, Elsmore says her school and work can complement each other.
“I like to think of it as; I’ve been invited to many homes, and so that feeling of having someone who trusts you with their medical care and listens to you and also the academic and challenging part of the brain to be able to make medical decisions and make someone feel better is extremely gratifying,” she said. .
Nationally, paramedics and EMTs have been in high demand since the pandemic began. It also affects those in Broome County. Chenango Ambulance Services president Frances Morris said she has seen staffing shortages not only at her building but also at other businesses in the area. She says some of the issues are also at the state level.
“It’s (ambulance services) not considered an essential service, so we don’t receive any public funding. So it’s always a challenge to provide the best service for a community with limited resources,” Morris said.
Bryan Hiller is the deputy head of the company, he adds that due to salary, many full-time EMTs and paramedics will spend time working for more than one organization.
“Depending on where you are, you either work two 24-hour shifts, or four 12-hour shifts, or four 10-hour shifts. When I have to work eight hours a week and come back to work 12 hours a day day after day, I’ll tell you on my fourth day on the job, I’m pretty tired,” Hiller said.
Hiller and Morris say they don’t see the problem ending anytime soon. For now, they say they wish they could recruit more people to join their organization.
Morris says they welcome people with little or no experience and will help train them to become an EMT, ambulance driver or paramedic.
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