CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Staffing shortages have been an issue for nearly every industry recently…but certainly have dire consequences within the medical field.

EMT Academy in Chicopee held an open house to educate the public on the need for EMS workers and how to get started training. Simulation rooms provided a sample of the real-life situations EMS personnel respond to on a daily basis.

22News spoke with Assistant Director of Operations at EMT Academy, Kerry Konopka, who highlighted the need for more employees, especially since the downfall from COVID. She added that current challenges, such as the ongoing opioid epidemic, have led to adaptations in training and education within the industry.

“Education is so important, making sure you have those skills, get that extra training in your continuing education. I mean they face a lot of the troubles that have been happening, especially with fentanyl overdoses, so Narcan is something that everybody’s trained on, whether you’re a BLS or ASL level,” said Konopka.

According to an American Ambulance Association study in 2022, 39% of part-time EMT and 55% of part-time paramedic positions went unfilled because of a lack of qualified candidates. Efforts such as this open house, hope to educate people that though challenging, this field provides a rewarding… life-saving.