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More money allocated for rural EMS funding

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Federal money could soon be going to rural emergency agencies, including those in the Tri-States.

Earlier this week, Senator Dick Durbin announced $5 million for a new grant program supporting rural fire and EMS.

Tyler Mays has been an EMT with Adams County for about two years now. Mays had to go through a rigorous training process in order to become an EMT and that training and continued training is a big part of budgeting for rural EMS.

"There's always ongoing continued education requirements in order to keep the paramedics and EMTs at their optimum in order to be able to give great patient care," said Adams County EMS Chief John Simon.

Simon says over the past couple years there's been a nationwide shortage of qualified EMTs and he says that trend is just now starting to move into rural areas.

"We have open positions now at Adams County EMS."

Durbin's latest announcement of $5 million in federal funding to go towards rural EMS will certainly help, especially considering a portion of that money is slated to go towards purchasing more updated equipment.

"When we look at our cardiac monitor that is one of the main, central pieces of equipment that we use on almost every patient. We can see those cardiac monitors being $30,000 to $40,000 just for one piece of equipment."

Durbin's bipartisan Siren Act was signed into law last year as part of the farm bill and this is the first year of annual funding for the grant program. Siren act stands for "supporting and improving rural EMS needs."

Kaylee Pfeiferling

Multimedia Journalist

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