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News : Austin-Travis County EMS Call Center Also Short-staffed
Austin, TX, USA, Aug 6, 2015 -- It's not just paramedics who are facing staff shortages in Austin, it's also the call dispatchers who are the first line of help that need larger staffs.
Austin Travis County EMS call dispatchers are expected to answer right away, but a 22 percent staff shortage is making that tough.
"There may be occasions when it's delayed," said Capt. Darren Noak, ATCEMS spokesperson.
Getting help to the front lines could take a little bit longer.
EMS short-staffed 22 percent in call center.
"Where I think it become problematic is when the call volume is so high that they are unable to identify things outside of the dispatch protocol that are useful," said ATCEMS Association President Tony Marquardt.
Right now, the call volume is high with approximately 300-400 calls each day, 16 percent higher than it was just five years ago.
"The call volume sometimes exceeds the capacities and we do have to put some of those calls in cue on occasion," said Noak.
EMS wants changes that could fill those empty positions both in the call center and in the field.
"The department has asked for civil service waver to change that, amend that three-year tenure down to one-year tenure," Noak said.
That would make it possible for medics to be promoted more quickly and those empty positions that keep the county safe. Some relief could be coming as soon as next week, when several test to fill three of the EMS communications jobs open.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, August 10, 2015