My Take: Needed changes coming to Richland County EMS - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

My Take: Needed changes coming to Richland County EMS

An increase in pay for existing and future Richland County Emergency Medical Services employees. (Source: WIS) An increase in pay for existing and future Richland County Emergency Medical Services employees. (Source: WIS)
RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) -

It looks like some much needed help is coming to the Richland County EMS. Council members are moving to address issues exposed during a series of recent WIS Investigative reports.

We found the agency that’s supposed to keep you safe during an emergency is understaffed and underfunded. The problems are so pervasive even some people who work for the department fear they are putting lives at risk.

This comment made by an EMS worker at a recent staff meeting backs those claims.

"We are so short staffed at EMS that people are leaving every week to go to surrounding counties because of insurance. If we continue down this road when someone calls 911 there will not be an ambulance to go because there’s no crew to drive it."

Nearly as shocking was that some council members did not even know of the problem until seeing WIS reports. "What I absolutely know is when I saw those statistics, I was horrified," Councilman Jim Manning said. "Again, I learned it from the local TV station WIS not from our administration."

Now, corrective actions are underway. They include increasing pay on advertised positions by 10%, along with a 5% pay increase for existing employees. In addition, millions of dollars that was approved in the last budget cycle will be spent on supplies and equipment over the next couple of months…

The WIS board is pleased that changes are underway. However, it is unfortunate that it took this exposure to make leaders aware and get something done in what could be a potentially life or death situation.

Meanwhile, you can continue to count on WIS to look into the issues important to you and hold agencies accountable.

That’s my take, What’s yours? 

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