Ga. county FF-paramedics to get hefty pay raise

Hall County is changing its pay structure to give paramedics a flat $10,000 more than EMTs


Robbie Sequeira
The Times, Gainesville, Ga.

HALL COUNTY, Ga. — Hall County Fire Services is changing the structure of how its paramedics get paid, which means some will be getting a hefty raise.

Paramedics in the fire department now earn 7.5% above the firefighter salary, according to Hall County government spokesperson Katie Crumley. 

Hall County has approved a change to its pay structure that will give firefighter-paramedics a hefty raise.
Hall County has approved a change to its pay structure that will give firefighter-paramedics a hefty raise. (Photo/Hall County, Georgia)

Firefighter/EMT recruits receive a salary of $40,774, and after training receive a $42,812 salary, according to Hall County Fire Chief Chris Armstrong. With a paramedic certification, they would have earned 7.5% above that but now will earn a flat $10,000 on top of that salary.

The total increase will amount to $415,500 for the department. 

“We believe this increase in compensation reflects our deeply held admiration and appreciation for those who choose to serve Hall County in this capacity,” Hall County Commission Chairman Richard Higgins said in a statement.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners announced the increase on Thursday, March 25.  Crumley said the board did not have to increase the current year’s budget expenditures — instead taking the money out of a reserve fund for county vacancies — so the action was not subject to a vote.

There are currently 58 on-shift paramedics working within Hall County Fire Services. Hall County Fire Services has 40 recruits in its current EMT program.

Armstrong said the increase in pay is part of a plan by the commissioners to retain paramedics within the Hall County Fire Services.

Crumley told The Times the increase is an incentive aimed at hiring more paramedics and meeting a countywide need for the personnel.

“The hope is to get more people to become paramedics because it’s truly a vital role and is a  need in our county,” she said.

Armstrong said in a video statement that more than 70% of the department’s responses are for emergency medical services. 

“We want to thank the board of commissioners and county administration for allowing us to speak with them about some of the challenges we face and for coming up with some creative solutions to help us provide best in class medical care to our citizens,” said Armstrong. “The board of commissioners recognizes that we need to invest in individuals who are providing the most utilized services across our community and due to the current nature of fire and emergency services, those individuals are paramedics.”

The firefighter/EMT position requires three weeks of training for applicants with certification and 40 weeks for non-certified applicants. The 20-week-a-piece training stints at the fire academy and Emergency Medical Technician school are all paid for by the county. 

Editors Shannon Casas and Thomas Hartwell contributed.

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(c)2021 The Times, Gainesville, Ga.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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