COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — The standard at College Station Fire Department is to have one paramedic on an ambulance and fire engine, but the paramedic shortage is putting a strain on resources.
The job of a paramedic is a demanding one that requires hands-on, clinical training.
Braden Rohde sees it firsthand, working alongside as a firefighter and EMT.
"I was hooked. I saw the way paramedics worked and I thought, 'Man, I want to become one of those," Rohde said.
The pandemic delayed his opportunity for training in a time when the fire department needs even more hands-on deck.
"I saw that our department needed paramedics and I want to help my department and help the city," Rohde said.
"For over a year, we've not been producing paramedics," Chief Richard Mann, College Station Fire Department said.
The College Station fire chief says the department needs a minimum of 54 paramedics, but they only have 47.
The shortage hasn't impacted response times, but responders feel the strain.
"The public would never know that we're down on paramedics because we keep the staff level where it needs to be on the ambulance," Mann said.
"On the back end, you're having a lot of people working overtime, doing more than their fair share and most of us just do it and don't ask questions because that's what we signed up for," Bryan Cohen, a paramedic at College Station Fire Department said.
The department is applying for a grant to help train current firefighters and EMTs to become paramedics to fill the gap.
Paramedics are also being offered a bonus to hire. The departments' goal is to train and retain.
“LIKE” 25 NEWS KRHD ON FACEBOOK FOR ALL THE LATEST BRAZOS VALLEY STORIES!”