Forsyth EMS receiving help from FEMA ambulances 

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 13, 2022

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Forsyth County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is receiving help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the form of three ambulances to help with the high volume of emergency calls amid the rise in COVID-19 cases.

Each ambulance has a two-person crew that is dispatched to the same emergency calls as Forsyth EMS ambulances. The ambulances work different shifts, so there’s always at least one on call and a second one during peak hours. They arrived on Wednesday, Jan. 5, and went into service on Thursday, Jan. 6.

FEMA will determine the amount of time they’ll be in Forsyth County and if the number of ambulances they provide will increase or decrease, based on need for their service. The last time FEMA sent ambulances was in October 2021, and they were in the county for seven weeks.

Forsyth EMS requested the additional resources to help with the record number of emergency calls, with an 11% increase in calls in 2021. Forsyth EMS is also dealing with the same challenges filling positions experienced by organizations nationwide, the potential loss of staff due to quarantines if EMS personnel are exposed to COVID-19, and delays in education and training for new paramedics and EMTs due to the pandemic.

The high call volume and staffing challenges have led EMS personnel to run calls non-stop.

“We are extremely fortunate and grateful to receive this assistance from FEMA,” said Emergency Services Director Daren Ziglar. “We feel this will be of value to our community, as well as some welcome relief to our personnel.”