EMS In Northwest Arkansas Experiencing Paramedic Shortage

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- Fire and ambulance services in Northwest Arkansas are experiencing a paramedic shortage.

Both Central Emergency Medical Service in Fayetteville, which serves Washington County, and EMS in Benton County are reporting paramedics are in short supply and are having a hard time attracting more of them.

Denett Ralston is a paramedic at Central EMS and has been for 16 years. She said the amount of hours paramedics work is astronomical, but worth it.

"Those calls, where you feel like you have really made a difference, you get those calls every so often," she said. "That's what brings you back each time."

Ralston said balancing work, sleep and having a family are difficult, but she cannot imagine doing anything else.

"It doesn't matter what you're called for," she said. "Sometimes a loved one has passed away and you can't change that, so you're just there for them, and sometimes you're giving everything you got and pulling out your critical care thinking skills and doing everything you can to help someone."

Ralston said she makes it through each shift, which can occasionally be 48-hours long, with the help of her coworkers and her family.

"My mom always reminds me that you never know whose angel you're going to be," she said.

For more information about how to become a paramedic through Northwest Arkansas Community College, click here.