CAREER PARAMEDIC-FIREFIGHTER STAFFING PROBLEMS: IS RECRUITING WOMEN PART OF THE SOLUTION?
Chatterjee, Anshu N.
Halladay, Carolyn C.
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Fire departments are the largest employer of emergency medical services workers, but many face a shortage of paramedic-firefighter applicants. These applicants typically work as single-role paramedics, an occupation facing an even greater shortage. Although women are almost 47 percent of the general labor force, few apply to be paramedic-firefighters, suggesting an untapped labor pool that could resolve some of the shortage. This thesis explores whether fire departments can mitigate the shortage of paramedic-firefighter applicants by examining the issues that prevent people from applying and by recruiting more women. In a comparative analysis of four departments that employ an above-average percentage of females, the research found that: 1) low ambulance-bill reimbursements restrict paramedic wages, and thus paramedic supply; 2) economic and other challenges that limit the supply of paramedics are increasing; 3) fire departments appear not to be aware of, or have implemented, published recruiting recommendations; and 4) strong staffing performance requires consistent human resources proficiency. This research recommends that fire departments address issues that appear to deter potential applicants, especially women. Doing this can mitigate staffing shortages and foster community trust.
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