NEWS 3 follow-up: Beaufort County EMS still hiring, filling gaps after benefits set to be cut

Retired Beaufort County employees’ healthcare benefits will end on June 30. This includes Beaufort County EMS workers; some blame the benefit cuts on their turn-over rate. Paramedics say they’re filling the gaps and but hope there can be some recognition for their services this week during ‘National EMS Week’.

When NEWS 3 first reported EMS employees having retired benefits cut, some voiced concerns for low morale among staff, workers leaving, and fatigue from covering extra shifts.

“I feel terrible for the people that have put in their entire lives into this and now you know, things like this are going to happen to them,” former employee Jon Bruner told NEWS 3 in August.

There were about a dozen openings then. Now, Paramedic Shift Supervisor Danny Tinnel says there are five full-time openings and five part-time openings for personnel on ambulances. The total number of personnel employed is 81.

“It’s a constant challenge in this area to be able to recruit paramedics,” Tinnel says.

“To have this job, you just have to have the drive to do it. I don’t think anybody comes at ems going, ‘hey I’m going to come in here and I’m going to become rich’,” he says.

As they fill openings, they hope this week can offer some recognition for the job often overlooked. To celebrate National EMS Week, there’s been a memorial bike ride for the fallen, and workers recognized. Tinnel says they like to hear success stories from former patients, too.

“We get [patients] in the back of that ambulance, and we pass them off to the hospitals for further treatment, and we really never hear the end of the story,” he says.

There are other projects staff hope to work with the county on, too. There are two newer ambulances they’d like to have stationed in areas of the county where response times can be improved.

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