Emergency officials in Washington County had an open dialogue with residents about some of the challenges they are currently facing.
When there is an emergency, you can count on the first responders in Washington County. However, they are understaffed.
“We don’t have as many volunteers as we had in the past, so that’s one major concern in the county is the staffing,” said Dale Hill.
Some emergency personnel had an honest conversation with residents in Washington County about the problems that exist. Jeremy Mackrell, with the Community Rescue Service, says a major problem is funding.
“Our biggest issue at this point is a lack of overall funding. We are a part of the infrastructure, but I don’t feel like it’s funded like part of the infrastructure,” said Mackrell.
During the discussion, the panelist agreed that the city and the county need to come together to establish a sustainable revenue source to fix the funding problem. Many first responders are leaving to other jurisdictions for better pay.
“There’s a lot of providers looking for long term pension plan. So, we have a pretty big turnover rate, so we’re currently at what I consider a crisis level for paramedics in the county right now,” said Mackrell.
Mackrell says in just a year alone, CRS responded to over 15,000 calls.
“Any given day, we’re sometimes short two to three paramedics throughout the county and we’re struggling to run those calls with the paramedics we have,” said Mackrell.
Thomas Ruhf, a Rohersville resident, says he wants other residents to pay attention to the issues when they go out to vote in this upcoming election.
“They can vote on it. They can share and learn something about this very significant issue. That many people aren’t aware of the problems that are there. These people are trying to deal with it,” said Mackrell.
The event was put on by the United Democrats of Washington County.