Athens EMS Adding A Full-Time Position

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Athens County EMS will add another fulltime squad member, the county commissioners decided Tuesday.

The move is an effort to reduce overtime costs and add more stability to scheduling.

Athens County EMS has 34 full-time employees, but relies heavily on part-time squad members to staff its five stations. That causes scheduling problems because the part-time employees have other time commitments, with many of them holding other jobs. Athens County EMS uses paramedics and emergency medical technicians on its ambulances.

On Tuesday, EMS Chief Rick Callebs presented the commissioners with a comparison of the cost of adding two full-time EMTs, versus annual overtime costs. The projected overtime cost for 2014 is $88,856, while the cost of adding two EMTs, with benefits, would be $103,956.

Commissioner Lenny Eliason suggested that initially one full-time position be added, then the impact evaluated.

Callebs and Assistant Chief Amber Pyle were asked by the commissioners if they thought adding one person would make a difference.

"Every little bit is going to help," responded Pyle, who does the scheduling and described it as a "struggle."

During Tuesday's commissioners' meeting, they inspected one of two new ambulances purchased for Athens County EMS. Callebs said they cost $144,000 each. One will be placed at the Coolville station and one at the Glouster station, he said.