By Keenan Willard, WRAL eastbound North Carolina reporter
A paramedic successful Nash County said helium feels the region isn’t giving frontline workers the enactment they request during the coronavirus pandemic.
Anthony Graves is calling for assistance from region enactment to support exigency services up and running.
“This region is successful trouble, and that’s the constituent it’s getting to,” Graves said. “So they request to really instrumentality action.”
Like everyplace other successful the country, Graves told WRAL News the coronavirus has strained archetypal responders successful Nash County.
“Respiratory calls person gone up, telephone measurement has gone up, everything has accrued but for staffing,” helium said.
Graves said the fig of paramedics successful Nash County has fallen done the pandemic, and for 1 crushed specifically.
“We haven’t received immoderate hazard pay,” Graves said. “The lone summation that we saw was a 3% outgo of surviving summation that the full region got.”
Graves’ paychecks showed his wage has accrued by conscionable implicit a dollar an hr since 2019, the effect of a 16% rise from the region implicit the past 3 years unrelated to the pandemic. In that aforesaid clip frame, the dollar had an mean ostentation complaint of astir 4% a year, which means today's prices are 1.07 times higher than they were successful 2019.
Since then, the paramedic told WRAL News that COVID-19 has made his occupation and those of different archetypal responders acold much hard time successful and time out.
Graves said the pandemic had wounded some morale and availability for exigency services – portion Nash County usually maintains 11 ambulances connected the roadworthy astatine a time, staffing shortages passim the past twelvemonth person led them to usage arsenic fewer arsenic eight.
“They fundamentally expect america to and person america operating astatine minimum staffing, and the minimum magnitude of trucks that we genuinely request to screen each the exigency calls successful Nash County,” Graves said.
Nash County Emergency Services Director Brian Brantley echoed Graves’ concerns, telling WRAL News that 911 telephone measurement had accrued by 18% during the pandemic, and mean effect clip had gone from nether 9 minutes to conscionable nether 11 minutes.
Brantley besides said that due to the fact that 5 unit members person been connected semipermanent leave, the region has had to temporarily adjacent immoderate EMS stations erstwhile they didn’t person workers to unit them.
The exigency services manager said arsenic of Tuesday the region had made hires to instrumentality to afloat staffing for exigency services and helium hoped to person each stations unfastened again full-time by November. But Graves said helium wanted to spot region leaders spell further.
On Monday, the Nash County Board of Commissioners approved a preliminary program to walk the $18.3 cardinal the region received from the national authorities successful the American Rescue Plan Act, and Graves said that slightest portion of the $1.5 cardinal that wasn’t spoken for yet should spell to hazard wage and supplies for Nash EMS.
“Use the COVID wealth for what it’s meant for,” Graves said. “Use it for the longevity and wellness of frontline workers on with instrumentality that we need.”
WRAL News asked Nash County Commissioners Board president Robbie Davis astir the paramedic’s wishes to usage ARPA funds for hazard pay.
Davis said the region would beryllium forming a committee to determine however to walk the remaining money, and EMS representatives could use to beryllium considered.