Putnam County Emergency Management Service aims to boost retention and recruitment during the next fiscal year.
EMS officials have requested additional funding to provide more in-house training and keep paramedics on staff.
Tommy Copeland is the director of Putnam County EMS.
“For the last several years, we’ve had a real shortage of people getting into EMS,” Copeland said. “I think it will give us the ability to train and keep people here, and I think over the long-term, I think it will give us the ability to give them better training and be more work-ready when they get out of the class than they already are.”
Copeland presented the EMS’s proposal to the county commission’s budget committee Thursday.
The budget also includes funding for community paramedics, making Putnam County one of four entities in Tennessee testing a new pilot program.
“They will get additional training, additional experience as far as doing clinical rotations, and they’d be able to do more,” Copeland said. “Initially, we’ll probably still have to have them on the ambulance and doing this as well. But the long-term goal could be we use the community paramedic in place of the ambulance.”
Community paramedics would be paid approximately $38,000 per year while current paramedics could potentially see a $3,000 raise.
Budget committee members did not take a vote on the proposed budget. The County Commission will consider approving the EMS proposals in the near future.