Mankato Free Press: Rural EMS programs struggle with recruitment, retention

EXCERPT: “By day, Martin Healey teaches science classes at Waseca High School. At home, his pager stays on for 12-hour stretches two nights each week and on occasional weekends, alerting him to calls for the Wells Community Ambulance Service, with which the 48-year-old has served over the last dozen years. Such is the life of an EMT with a rural emergency medical service. ‘Recruitment never stops,’ said Healey, a past Wells squad captain and dedicated public servant. ‘We try to put together a class of about 10 (candidates) every year, but training is a big commitment (160 training hours), and we know not everyone will pass.’ With two ambulance rigs and 20 EMTs serving a local population of about 2,400 plus the surrounding area, Wells is decently positioned to provide emergency medical transport. But Minnesota’s rural EMS system isn’t necessarily on solid ground overall, with some areas lacking adequate numbers of trained EMTs and others short on dollars.” FULL STORY: