|Volunteer EMTs in Maddock, N.D.|
The North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center study reported three main reasons for loss of EMS volunteers: high numbers of retirees or elderly in rural areas are unlikely to have physical strength required for EMS, many working-age individuals leave rural areas to find jobs elsewhere, and volunteers have too many obligations to cover weekends. Voluinteer fire departments have reported similar problems.
Almost three-quarters of the all-volunteer EMS agencies hosted fundraising events to get necessary funding, requiring further time commitments. At least one-half of these agencies have started some type of paid compensation, but it's still less than maintaining a full-time staff. Twenty percent of EMS leaders reported being "uncertain of their ability to maintain future service," and 8 percent were "frankly pessimistic" about the future. (Read more)