BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Berkeley County is looking to hire dozens of new paramedics to widen their support across the county.

“There is a nationwide shortage of paramedics everywhere,” said Berkeley County EMS Chief Michael Shirey.

But while Berkeley County does have enough paramedics to respond to calls, the county still needs more to keep up with demand.

“I would really like to hire 30 paramedics,” said Chief Shirey. “That would get us to a level where we would be very well positioned to provide all the services that everybody expects for us to provide but also some relief to our folks that need a bit of a break.”

The increase in demand for service is due in part to the growing county, but also because people call 911 for things they used to get taken care of at a regular doctor’s appointment.

Berkeley County has taken steps to attract paramedics. “County council for Berkeley County did vote to increase the salaries for paramedics to make us more competitive with other agencies nationwide,” said Chief Shirey.

They now have strong starting salaries in the department.

“Our salary that’s advertised now for EMTs is $46,571 per year and our paramedics are making $65,206. There is some increase for experience, but those are our starting rates.”

They are also incentivizing their EMTs to go to paramedic school so they can become paramedics for the county.

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