LADYSMITH, Wis. (WEAU) -- If you're sick or injured they rush to help.
But right now in Rusk County, Emergency Medical Technicians say there's a shortage of responders, meaning it could take longer for them to get to patients.
Two Rusk County EMTs shared their concerns about their dwindling numbers with WEAU 13 News.
“We really try to do the best we can with what we've got, as far as personnel,” said Amanda Nicholson, a county EMT in Sheldon.
Nicholson said there are many factors going into this problem.
One is training; with the cost of becoming a volunteer or part-time EMT now well over $1,000 for initial training.
“The state has just added training requirements to the EMT basic course, so the course takes longer now to complete,” Nicholson said.
And there's trouble keeping them in the area.
“We train a lot of new people at the entry level EMT basic and they move on to another area where they can get a full-time job,” said Tom Hall, the director of the Rusk County Ambulance Service.
There's also a lack in funding, with money coming from patients' ambulance bills.
And they don't always pay up.
“The people are expecting more of the ambulance service and they're using it more,” said Marty Huhn, who’s been an EMT in Sheldon for 35 years.
With calls ballooning and so few emergency responders, the service has to shuffle its five ambulances throughout the county.
“We'll move a peripheral ambulance to a more central location to try to provide coverage for the entire county if we are a little bit short,” Nicholson said.
She said it could now take up to 30 minutes for an ambulance to get to a person in need.
“Those kind of minutes in an emergency, as you can imagine, the likelihood for a successful outcome becomes significantly impacted in a very negative way,” Nicholson said.
Randy Tator, the Chair of the Rusk County Board of Supervisors told WEAU he's open to talking to EMTs about these problems.
“We’re going to be working with the committees involved and the county board to look at other ways to finance at least parts of the ambulance or whatever we have to do to keep things working here,” Hall said.