Mass. fire dept. struggles to meet EMS staff requirements

The department became licensed as an ALS-level service in 2014; they have three years to meet the requirements or will lose their license

UPTON, Mass. — A fire department in Massachusetts is struggling to fulfill staffing requirements after being licensed as an ALS-level service in 2014.

The Milford Daily News reported the Upton Fire Department is required to have ALS staffing 24-hours a day, seven days a week within three years or they will lose their license.

The department increased its full time staff to 14-hour days, seven days a week. Ten-hour overnight shifts are covered by four on-call groups with a paramedic assigned to each group.

Town manager Blythe Robinson said the fire department is capable of meeting the staffing requirements, but they fall short if any paramedics are out. When the station is properly staffed, the average rollout time is one minute, according to Fire Chief Aaron Goodale. When it is shorthanded, it takes seven minutes to rollout.

In a presentation to the board, Goodale offered two possible solutions. One solution would increase per diem paramedics from other ambulance services. The second, a more permanent solution, would be to hire two full-time paramedics.

The board agreed to include $55,000 in the budget for 2017 to increase per diem paramedics. They also plan to apply for a grant that would allow for hiring of two full-time paramedics.

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