St. Mary’s Aims to Bolster Volunteer Rescue Squads Amidst Pandemic

The St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services is working to bolster the County’s volunteer EMS services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The County plans to use federal CARES funding to hire private emergency medical technicians and paramedic EMS service providers to partner with local rescue squads to address a pandemic-driven surge in requests for emergency services.

Each of the County’s seven volunteer rescue squads has asked for help to address staffing shortages, particularly in daytime hours when many volunteers are unavailable. According to the National Fire Department Registry from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, more than 60% of Maryland’s firefighters are volunteers.

According to a County press release:

In addition, contract Paramedics would be stationed at the County’s Department of Emergency Services. They would operate county-owned Advanced Life Support vehicles that have been purchased under Federal CARES Act Funding. Paramedics will be supplementing the services of county’s current Advanced Life Support unit.

During the COVID Pandemic, volunteer First Responder services have been strained, making it increasingly difficult to staff ambulances and ALS vehicles. Each of the county’s seven volunteer rescue squads has asked the county for assistance in their ambulances’ staffing, particularly in daytime hours when many volunteers are at their regular employment place.

The county is also exploring the purchase of an ambulance that would be owned by the county and used as a further supplement to the county’s EMS services.

Read the full press release for more information.