The Department of Health is moving forward with a paid training program to recruit emergency medical technicians in much the same way that the V.I. Police Department recruits police officers.
Health Commissioner Mercedes Dullum said the ability to pay entry-level EMTs will allow the department to provide jobs and recruit new people into emergency medical services.
Prior to approval from Gov. John deJongh Jr. and Office of Management and Budget Director Debra Gottlieb, residents would be able to take EMT training courses but would not be guaranteed a job with the Department of Health, Dullum said.
The paid training program, due to begin by late summer, is one of two priorities to bolster emergency medical response in the territory. Health officials have said that ideally it takes eleven EMTs to staff a 12-hour rotating shift, which must include higher ranking EMT positions such as paramedics.
Dullum said they are also working with the Fire Services Division to boost emergency response territory-wide.
Plans are under way for firefighters to ride on ambulances to gain experience on patient care.
The Department of Health currently has six vacant positions and is urging trained residents to apply. Residents can continue to check for updates on the department’s employment page on www.healthvi.org.