LEONARDTOWN, MD – The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County approved $552,992 to be used for supplemental staff, ambulances, and related equipment partnering with the Rescue Squads to deliver Emergency Medical Services in St. Mary’s County during their regular business meeting Tuesday, Oct. 20.

In his request for funding, Director of Emergency Services, Stephen Walker briefed the Commissioners on data regarding emergency response times. Walker stated that there had been a noticeable increase in incidents in the last few months, where Basic Life Support ambulances could not respond to calls for service due to decreased Emergency Medical Service staffing levels. COVID-19 has played a large part in this shortage; in these instances, alternate ambulances were dispatched, and care was provided.

To mitigate these circumstances, the Department of Emergency Services requested CARES Act funding of $472,992 for additional emergency medical staff for Rescue Squads and $80,000 to purchase a used ambulance and associated equipment.

Director Walker also told the Commissioners “It is important to note that the level and quality of Emergency Medical Service by our volunteer First Responders is exemplary. However, the delivery of services, getting our EMS First Responders to those in need, is where we lack substantially, and that is due to reduced staffing. Reduced staffing has been a growing trend in volunteer services for several years and pandemic conditions have compounded that challenge.”

Commissioner decisions and related public documents are available on the county government website in BoardDocs. St. Mary’s County Commissioner Meetings may be viewed live Tuesday mornings on SMCG Channel 95 or as a replay Friday nights at 6:30 p.m. Meetings are also available for on-demand viewing on the St. Mary’s County Government YouTube Channel.

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