Shelton’s Echo Hose Ambulance career fair focus on increasing ranks

Echo Hose Ambulance

Echo Hose Ambulance

Contributed photo

SHELTON — For those looking for a career in emergency medical services, Echo Hose Training Center will be the place to be later this month.

Echo Hose Ambulance Corps is holding its career fair — its third since last November — and the timing, according to service Assistant Chief Joe Laucella, could not be better.

“The health care industry as a whole has seen staff shortages,” Laucella said, “and it is important for us to help provide that access to employers and to resources for those seeking to become an EMT or a paramedic. So many of these agencies need help right now.

“If you’re thinking of becoming certified, come in, talk to the agencies here,” he added. “It is important to get people in the industry, get them trained, get them certified, get them in the field. We want to help open doors for some people to start new careers and make connections.”

The fair — set for Dec. 15 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the training center’s Coram Avenue location — will feature a dozen area EMS, public safety and health care agencies that are actively hiring new team members.

“This is a great way to get people involved … maybe they’re high school or college students, maybe they’re 45 and looking for a change of career,” Laucella said. “You can come to this kind of fair, look around, ask questions, enroll in a class and look to get a job in the field.”

Laucella said these agencies are looking to connect with those who want to be certified and those who are certified — and in some cases people are hired.

Echo Hose Ambulance held career fairs in November 2020 and this past April — and the corps was even able to bring on new members itself. Echo Hose Ambulance holds 15 to 20 EMT classes a year at the training center and interest has been strong, Laucella said.

“We are very lucky with staffing, but we always are in need of more volunteers,” Laucella said, adding that the service often hires part-time EMTs and paramedics.

In all, Echo Hose Ambulance has 15 full and part-time paramedics, 30 full and part-time EMTs, and nearly 80 volunteers. While the staff is sizable, Laucella said the search for more assistance continues as the call volume grows monthly.

Laucella said call volume has jumped 15 percent from the same time last year. What had been an average of 450 calls a month prior to the pandemic has risen to as many as 550 calls per month since April.

“We thought it was a short burst, but it’s been consistent for seven, eight months,” Laucella said.

To meet the demand, Laucella said Echo Hose Ambulance has added a second ambulance on duty seven days a week on the overnights to relieve some of the burden. Laucella said the department regularly receives two to four calls a night. A transport to the hospital, Laucella said, can be an hour.

“This is a common theme across the whole state,” Laucella, who chairs a regional emergency services group with state of Connecticut, said about staffing shortages and increasing call volumes.

“Staffing always been an issue, but it is bigger now,” he added. “The need is great, and services, small and large are experiencing this. We hope this career fair will bring more people in while allowing those already certified to find new opportunities.”