EMS professionals face staffing shortages, mental health struggles
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - National Emergency Medical Services Week is May 15 through 22. Patrick Dugan, the President of the College Station Professional Firefighters Association, joined First News at Four to discuss the challenges and rewards of his profession.
The College Station Professional Firefighters Association was created in 2006 with two main goals in mind – to represent the hardworking men and women of the College Station Professional Firefighters Association and to serve their community through compassionate and dedicated service.
According to Dugan, one of the biggest challenges that everyone is seeing across the state, and even across the nation, for firefighters and EMS, is staffing shortages. Classes were cancelled for various, technical schools during the pandemic. While they have reopened, they haven’t caught back up to the demand. Other factors contributing to staffing shortages include people leaving the profession or retiring early.
Part of this is due to the strain the profession puts on mental health. Law enforcement officers and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.
“Somewhere around 30 to 40% of EMS and firefighters have some type of mental health issue, whether it’s depression or PTSD or things like that, and so that’s always an ongoing challenge for us to meet,” explained Dugan.
To combat this, they try to provide good mental health resources, and Dugan revealed they are about to train a new round of peer support specialists.
Despite the difficulties, Dugan believes it is a rewarding profession.
He recognizes the support they receive from the community and appreciates citizens who help keep up morale.
Watch the full interview in the player above.
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