National EMS Advisory Council Recommends NHTSA Work on Volunteer Recruitment and Retention

On January 16, the National Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council (NEMSAC) adopted a final advisory recommending that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) bring together a group of subject matter experts to study recruitment and retention (R&R) challenges in volunteer EMS and then develop a resource that can be accessed electronically to provide information to agencies about R&R best practices. The advisory, entitled “Rural and Volunteer EMS Recruitment and Retention,” is the first ever issued by the NEMSAC, which was established in 2007, to specifically address volunteer staffing challenges.

“I’d like the thank the members of the NEMSAC for their work in developing and passing this important advisory,” said National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) EMS/Rescue Section Chair Eric Quinney. “The staffing issues that rural and volunteer EMS agencies face have been well-documented. We know what the problems are, including rising call volumes and training requirements along with demographic and societal shifts that leave EMS agencies, particularly in rural areas, with fewer resources and a smaller pool of potential volunteers. The NVFC looks forward to working with NHTSA and other stakeholders to identify best practices and develop guidance to help EMS agencies deal with the challenges that they face.”

No new grant funding will be made available to local agencies as a result of this advisory. The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) and SIREN Act grant programs both already provide funding to directly assist with R&R efforts.