RUTHERFORD CO., NC (WSPA) – Two rescue squads in Rutherford County closed earlier this month.
Both Hickory Nut Gorge and Rutherford County Rescue are no longer operating and Rutherford County EMS is expanding their 911 services in response.
“We’re prepared, there’s nothing to worry about. If you call 911, you will get a paramedic ambulance at your house,” said EMS Director Kerry Giles.
Giles said people will not see a lack of care with the transition.
“You’ll get a paramedic that is well versed within anything they need, along with any new partners they may have,” said Giles.
She also says people will not see any delays in the EMS response time.
“Citizens should see zero interruption, there has been no lack of coverage during this time, and they will see no difference in service,” she said.
Giles said they’re hoping to hire 12 new paid positions and a number of part-time ones. All of which are paramedics, advanced EMTs and EMTs. She said even with the national shortage of EMS workers, they’re getting applicants.
Giles said they went through the rosters of the stations that shut down to offer any member to apply. Their goal is to have all the staffing and ambulances up and running in the next few weeks.
“They’re going to start having higher level of care with more paramedic trucks and service,” she said.
They’re recommending to the county that they add two more ambulances that would run around the clock to cover vacancies the closings have created. Giles said they called in FEMA to provide the two extra ambulances in the meantime, and requested mutual aid from surrounding EMS agencies.
“It’s really a beautiful bridge for us, because it buys us the time, we need to onboard new people.” said Giles.
Giles wants people in Rutherford County to know that they’re in good hands.
The county EMS is planning to get both ambulances approved at the county commissioners meeting next Monday. Giles said the county commissioners have been really supportive during the transition.
If you’re interested in applying to fill one of the EMS positions, click here.
7NEWS did reach out to both rescue squads that shut down to ask why they decided to close, but we haven’t heard back yet.