EMS shift change suggestion creates a stir

Published 9:58 am Thursday, April 5, 2018

Davie EMS employees were told Monday that there schedules were changing.

That night, they and their families let county commissioners know they aren’t happy with the changes.

Starting July 1, the employees would change from the current 24 hours on 3 days off schedule to 12-hour shifts.

The issue wasn’t on the county commission agenda that night, but their voices were heard during the public comment section.

Among the reasons they don’t like the schedule changes: less time with family, inability to work another job and the potential for fewer experienced EMTs, since several live in other counties and work here because of the current schedule.

“Peoples lives will drastically change due to this schedule, including personal relationships and financial burdens,” the spouse of one EMT wrote. “Davie County citizens need to know about this change and support our EMS personnel to keep their current schedule.”

Commissioners typically do not respond to comments made during the public comments part of the meeting.

But at the end, Commissioner Mark Jones said the board did not make the decision to change schedules. He asked who was involved in the discussions, specifically of EMS management was involved.

County Manager John Eller said the decision would be for commissioners to make during budget talks, but that state and federal standards and safety were foremost in thinking.

The working hours for EMS employees has been tossed around for quite some time, he said.

Eller said he also looked at maintaining state and federal standards into the future, and what other counties are doing with schedules, before recommending the change.

“We always try to listen and do the right thing,” Commissioner John Ferguson said at the end of the meeting.

“Our No. 1 issue is safety, and we take that very seriously,” said Board Chair Terry Renegar.