More people are calling on the aid of emergency services, but one local town could be running out of responders to come to their rescue.
Sheena Folsom is training to
become a paramedic--training that Suwannee County is paying for.
"That's great--it's a lot. It helps those of us who want to do it and can't always, who have family and everything else. It's really nice."
Suwannee County will pay for the training for anyone who wants to be a volunteer EMT.
All the person has to do is agree to volunteer for a certain number of hours per month for two years.
The county's public safety director Scott Racow says recruiting volunteers is crucial because the call volume in the county has increased 33 percent in the last two years...
and state tax cuts make it impossible to handle it all.
"In order to provide the same level of service, we need a minimum $450,000 to $500,000 to open up a new station. Whereas, training these volunteers and having them fill in, whether it's on a reserve basis or part-time basis, would be much more cost effective."
Volunteers can further train to become official employees as paramedics, then go through the fire academy--all of which is fully paid for by the county.
Racow says the program will help keep qualified EMTs and paramedics in the county.
160 hours of training is required and 400 hours for full certification to become a volunteer EMT.