The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County this week approved $552,992 to provide supplemental staff, ambulances, and related equipment to the County’s volunteer rescue squads as part of a partnership to provide emergency services across St. Mary’s County.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, 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.
“Reduced staffing has been a growing trend in volunteer services across our nation for several years,” Director of Emergency Services Stephen Walker said. However, COVID 19 has also had a substantial impact and compounded the staffing shortage. Many volunteers will not staff an ambulance for fear of contracting COVID 19.”
To mitigate these circumstances, the St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services requested $472,992 in federal CARES Act funding for additional emergency medical staff and $80,000 to purchase a used ambulance and associated equipment.
According to a County press release:
In his request for funding, Director of Emergency Services, Stephen Walker briefed the Commissioners on data regarding emergency response times. Walker stated that there had been a noticeable increase in incidents in the last few months, where Basic Life Support ambulances could not respond to calls for service due to decreased Emergency Medical Service staffing levels. COVID19 has played a large part in this shortage; in these instances, alternate ambulances were dispatched, and care was provided.
Commissioner decisions and related public documents are available on the county government website in BoardDocs. St. Mary’s County Commissioner Meetings may be viewed live Tuesday mornings on SMCG Channel 95 or as a replay Friday nights at 6:30 p.m. Meetings are also available for on-demand viewing on the St. Mary’s County Government YouTube Channel.