Local News

FEMA delivers help to struggling Wake County EMS

Posted October 8, 2021 5:08 a.m. EDT
Updated October 8, 2021 5:20 p.m. EDT

New state-of-the-art ambulances and trained EMS crews are arriving in Wake County on Friday.

FEMA has assigned ambulances to 10 counties in North Carolina overwhelmed by calls during the pandemic, including Robeson, Franklin, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Guilford, Brunswick, Graham, Macon, Pender and Wake counties.

In recent weeks, WRAL News reported a major EMS shortage. On any given day, Wake County has ten ambulances out of service due to a shortage in personnel assigned to drive ambulances, WRAL News reported in August.

On Sunday, some of the ambulance resources will be shifted among counties. Representatives with North Carolina Emergency Management said Wake County will receive four ambulances and crews.

So how often are no ambulances available? According to Brian Brooks, Wake EMS assistant chief, it's several times a day, and the call volume is the highest it’s ever been.

The state's EMS director hopes the FEMA crews and advanced life support ambulances, each staffed with a two-person crew, will make a significant difference.

A total of 25 ambulances were sent to nine other counties in North Carolina. The state had requested 40 for help.

The ambulance crews will work in the counties for 10 days, and at that time needs will re-evaluated to see if changes should be made.

Officials said, if you have a true emergency, they will be there.

"We are here to do a job, and we will make sure that that job is done," said Brooks, but there is no interruption in services for true emergencies. "If you call for a reason that's not an immediate emergency, you may end up waiting a little while," he said.

The FEMA contract for ambulance support in North Carolina runs through Oct. 25.

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