Lexington, SC, USA, Nov 24, 2021 -- A staffing shortage is impacting Lexington County's Emergency Management Services. The agency is looking to fill multiple positions, from 911 telecommunication operators to emergency medical technicians.
The county's call center is normally staffed with 12 people per shift, but with staffing shortages, they're operating with around six operators each shift.
"We are experiencing mandatory callbacks now," said Ronni Collins, 911 call center captain for Lexington County. "Two hours we need an extra person, then two hours in the morning, we need an extra person. We’re staying over for them. So, some of us are working 14-hour shifts some days."
"It does add a little stress on people," Collins said. "We are wanting people to come in here so we can train them."
Nikki Rodgers is the chief of communications for Lexington County. She told News 19 the workload increases for everyone in the call center.
"The phones are still getting answered in a timely manner, that we like to get them answered, 10 seconds or less, 90% of the time. However, that means each call taker is having to answer more calls."
Rodgers said the shortages is causing a domino effect for the call center.
"It rolls over to our dispatchers," Rodgers said. "So, now not only are our call takers answering the phone, but our dispatchers are having to answer phones and talk on the radio at the same time. So, that workload increases for everybody on the floor."
The county's EMT and paramedics team is also experiencing a staffing shortage.
"We are maintaining our response times pretty consistently," said Brian Hood, EMS chief with Lexington County. "We do have folks that are working a lot more overtime than usual."
Hood said they are looking for 15 certified emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics. According to the county's application system, pay starts at $19.21 an hour.
"We have reached out to many folks in many agencies, different organizations," Hood said, "folks retiring from the military who may have medical training from their military service."
To help with the staffing shortages, Lexington County is holding a job fair on Dec 1, from 8 a.m.-11 a.m., and again at 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Emergency Services job fair will be held at the county's operations center (432 Ball Park Road, Lexington, SC 29072).
Some available positions are:
Firefighter / Holding Current IFSAC Firefighter Certification
EMT and Paramedic / Holding Current National Registry Certification
911 Telecommunications / No Experience Necessary
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Published: Friday, November 26, 2021
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