By Bob Weaver

There is a shortage of emergency medical service workers across the country, and certainly there is a shortage in rural under-funded counties in West Virginia, including Calhoun.

911/OES Director Julie Sears says the local ambulance levy pays about one-half of the operation of a single ambulance in Calhoun, while the service is continuing efforts to hire personnel to put a second staffed ambulance on-line for 12-hours a day.

Fewer people are becoming EMS workers and the average age of responders continues to grow. EMT and Medic wages are low.

With an average age of 57 years old, and wages earned by EMTs are low, workers frequently work up to eighty hours a week just to earn a comfortable living.

Some neighboring counties that have healthy budgets have been offering sign-on bonuses.

In Calhoun, regional EMS services have been responding to local calls, certainly with a time delay.

Sources told the Hur Herald that rural counties will continue to suffer until wages and hours improve.

Meanwhile, a number of county 911 director have filed complaints with the WV-PSC regarding poor Frontier's landline service, essential for residents to access emergency service.

In a time long ago, hoards of volunteers turned out to provide local emergency services.

In West Virginia, a number of VFDs have closed linked to a lack of volunteers.

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