ORANGEBURG, S.C. — Many industries nationwide are experiencing staffing shortages due to the pandemic. Orangeburg County officials say they are running on a limited number of paramedics.
"A lot of the EMS professionals are leaving at a rate that is different from the rate young people are going into the profession," explained Harold Young, Orangeburg County Administrator. "In the past month, we probably lost six to ten paramedics because the shortage being so bad."
The director of Orangeburg County Emergency Medical Services, Stephanie Givens, believes the long criteria and work hours to become a paramedic are why people are not choosing the profession.
"We don't have the turnout of having paramedics coming out of school as we had in the past," said Givens. "With the shortage being nationwide and the length of time it takes to go to paramedic school, a lot of people are choosing not to go to paramedic school or work in the industry at this point."
Givens says the county is actively recruiting. They need about eight full-time paramedics. In the meantime, she says fewer people working means longer wait times. However, the county officials say they are using other resources to help with the wait times.
"We usually run seven trucks, but our everyday operations currently are four trucks," Givens said. "If all four trucks are out on a call and you call, you will have to wait longer.