Florence County's EMS department will soon undergo some major changes that will help the agency deal with a pretty significant personnel loss and an increased call volume.
Over the past two years, the agency lost a large amount of employees in a short period of time, and reached out to Florence County Council for help.
After many months of overtime shifts, employees who were stretched very thin and pleas to officials for help, Florence County's EMS service is now finally turning a corner with the addition of 15 employees of the recently-created 20 open positions.
“We envision very significant changes in the early part of September, where we will be adding a fourth shift of people. For the past 30 years, we've operated with three shifts, so our people are going to be working fewer hours,” said Ryon Watkins, Director of Florence County EMS.
Watkins said that his agency has been working very hard to fill the 20 open positions and said that he anticipates filling the remaining five spots in the near future.
In addition to the new employees and shift, the agency is also adding two new ambulances to their service, which will also aid in responses to emergency calls.
“The quality of care's gonna improve. We are going to have less fatigue for our employees, which has been a big concern for many, many years. In addition to that, there are going to be more ambulances on the roads every day so there is going to be improved response times,” Watkins said.
“We're going to be putting on two new peak-time ambulances, 12-hour ambulances, that will be available 7 days a week during the busiest times of the day,” Watkins said previously of the services.