They are trained to help when medical emergencies strike. But does Eastern Carolina have enough paramedics to be on guard for the next disaster?
North Carolina, and the entire country for that matter, is having a tough time finding qualified emergency medical technicians and paramedics. A nationwide shortage of certified medics has created a bidding war for their services. Large cities and counties are able to offer higher salaries and incentives. And that's leaving small rural counties without enough full-time paramedics, or having to come up with more money, to staff 24-hour-a-day coverage.
Onslow County raised paramedic pay $2.00 an hour last year, and is eyeing another increase in benefits to compete, but is hard-pressed to match the big-city salaries that could pay qualified medics $60,000 a year or more.