HOISINGTON — Like many small communities throughout the area, Hoisington currently has a shortage of Emergency Medical Technician volunteers. In an effort to address the shortage, Hoisington is offering a full scholarship to Barton Community College for tuition and books with a total value of $1200.
In return, the applicant will take six 12-hour shifts for Hoisington for 18 months.
“We’re short on staff volunteers,” said Craig Soward, EMS director for Hoisington. “We’re offering such a program to boost numbers on what could become a full-time career. It’s a pretty good deal.”
He said they have had a number of volunteers retire, move away, or become so busy they no longer had time for it.
During a 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift, all volunteers have to be within five minutes away from the service, located at 202 E. Broadway in Hoisington. The service has some living arrangements for overnight shifts.
There are currently two full-time employees for the service. The service covers the community for 24 hours a day. EMTs have to be able to lift patients and work in adverse conditions.
On-call volunteers are paid $2.50 an hour and receive a run fee. Those on transfer calls receive more money.
“It’s a pretty rewarding career,” said Soward. The part he likes best about being an EMT is being able to help people, giving back and the chance to make a difference.
“We’re trying to keep an ambulance service in Hoisington,” said Soward. “We’re training you for a career.”
Fortunately, the service has never been out of operation due to a lack of coverage. The city wants to make sure that the EMT service in Hoisington remains viable and is taking proactive steps to ensure that it is.
In a life or death situation, “seconds matter,” said City Manager Jonathan Mitchell.