Bedford Co. spearheads training program to combat EMT shortage

A recently launched program in Bedford County to combat EMT shortages is returning on its investment, Michael Warrick reports
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 9:14 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A recently launched program in Bedford County to combat EMT shortages is returning on its investment with the county now able to funnel certified EMTs to other parts of the state.

Bedford County EMS Director Ted Cox said the program to train EMTs began in 2020 after a legislation change allowed rural areas to teach their own courses.

It helped combat shortages in the field when people could get certified for the job without having to go to a university or community college.

“Something had to be done to keep applicants coming in because the stream was drying up,” Chris Cox, Assistant Director of Bedford County EMS, said. “It’s a pretty remarkable thing because it was obviously not available when I started my education.”

Chris Cox teaches the course, which is held at the Bedford County EMS facility. The program allows prospective students to also do clinicals with nearby hospitals.

“To be able to spearhead it and really be one of the leading agencies to do it is very nice,” Chris Cox said. “To see people from the community who can apply here, go to school here, stay here and work her and want to make it a long-term career, it’s pretty impressive.”

At the height of COVID-19, EMT shortages were particularly high, Ted Cox said.

Now, they have a full EMS staff of 60, including 10 EMTs who completed the course offered by the county.

“To see Bedford County essentially lead the way in terms of EMS public servants and how well it’s gone so far, making sure that we’re fully staffed and set to actually serve the community is great,” Bedford County Commissioner Adam Thomas, who is also taking the course, said.

Bedford County’s EMT training is open to people who live outside the county.

No experience is required. After successful completion of a six-week paid EMT course, trainees can then take an 11-week advanced EMT course with the county.

Click for information or to apply.