HAGERSTOWN, MD – On April 5, the Washington County Commissioners will be briefed by David Hays, Director of the Department of Emergency Services (DES), and Dale Fishack, president of the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association (WCVFRA). A staffing model was endorsed by the Commissioners in 2009 that provided a preset EMS staffing subsidy that was dispersed annually to each volunteer EMS Company in Washington County. Unfortunately, that staffing model has not been updated since its creation, creating staffing challenges for local companies.
Under the current EMS deployment model, significant challenges remain for those employees who desire promotional opportunity, changes in career direction (EMS vs fire), or finding a slower pace with call volumes. For volunteer corporation employees to accomplish this under the current system model, he/she must basically start over at another volunteer company; losing years of service, seniority, increases in earned vacation leave and 401K retirements. It is difficult for volunteer corporation employees to establish solid retirement planning options; given consideration of the challenges above. Essentially, the volunteer corporation employee must choose retirement planning, career advancement, or in some cases accept discord or job dissatisfaction as he/she must over as a new employee somewhere else to address most of these issues.
The presentation will cover current staffing challenges and weaknesses of the current staffing model, as well as multiple options for the county to address the continuing shortages, including the possibility of converting volunteer fire companies to County employees.
All 8 EMS Companies and DES are (and have been) doing everything possible to keep the EMS system alive and functioning. However, there has been no real opportunity to have dialog about any plans details with the providers who would be most affected by any decision to move to county employment or otherwise.
The meeting will begin at 10 AM at the County offices on West Washington Street, and will also be available for through live stream at the county’s YouTube channel.