HEMSI recruits its largest class of new employees as 911 call volume increases

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- As it is in any profession, learning the ropes starts with a student and a teacher.

Huntsville Emergency Medical Services has just ended orientation with its largest class ever—17 new medical professionals serving in ambulances in Huntsville and the surrounding communities. Because as Huntsville grows, so does the volume of 911 calls.

“Why? You know, you’ve got a lot of construction going on, so we’re seeing more accidents," said Don Webster, COO of HEMSI. "Yes, we’re seeing more opiate and heroin type overdoses, but just the overall general call volume has increased.”

More people in the Tennessee Valley also means more quality-of-life events and more paramedics needed on standby at those events.

Huntsville is also home to many baby boomers, who are reaching the age where they may have more health care needs.

“Heart attacks, strokes, other medical incidences, and a lot of them have to be transported to the hospital by ambulance," Webster said.

In other words—there are plenty of shoes for these new recruits to fill.

After a week of orientation, the new recruits will hit the streets in an ambulance with an instructor to get some real-world experience.

Stone Clark/New Recruit- “I’ve never been in the EMS field so it’s pretty new, I don’t know what to expect," said recruit Stone Clark.

Stone was previously National Guard and came into this line of work knowing it’s about the people.

“Learning something new every day, how to take care of patients better, because every patient has their different needs," Clark noted.

These recruits will be shadowed by their instructors until they’re given the all clear to head out on their own.

“Our goal is to serve the community and to have a good response time to the emergency calls," Webster said.