The Hall County Board of Commissioners increased the incentive for all paramedics in Hall County Fire Services Thursday.
The incentive is now $10,000 a year, beginning next week. Previously, personnel received a 7.5% increase in pay. The incentive replaces the annual percentage increase.
“This action by the board will help us recruit and retain highly-qualified and highly-trained paramedics in order to meet the health needs of the Hall County community,” said Hall County Fire Chief Chris Armstrong. “Although that (the 7.5% incentive) was a step in the right direction, we felt like we needed to do more.”
The incentive did not require a vote from the board, as it did not require a change to the current year's budget. The money comes from savings realized due to vacancies, according to County Spokeswoman Katie Crumley.
Armstrong said more than 70 percent of all responses to his department are for emergency medical services, and the number of those calls continue to increase, while traditional fire calls are decreasing.
For those interested in a career as a paramedic, Hall County is hiring. The position requires three weeks of training for certified applicants or 40 weeks of training for non-certified applicants, who spend 20 weeks at the fire academy and 20 weeks at Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) school, all of which is paid for by Hall County Government. Interested applicant can apply online.