RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. -- Working 24 hours around the clock can be grueling, especially for people working to save lives. Randolph County EMS first responders have those hours but are transitioning to 12-hour shifts. The change takes effect Jan. 1, 2020.
“It takes a special breed to be able to do this job," said Lt. Bradley Cooper, of Randolph County EMS.
Most people can't imagine working 24 hours straight.
"Most of the time our people by the time they actually get back home and get back to sleep they're up for greater than 30, 32, 34 hours at a time," said Maj. Bradley Beck, of Randolph County EMS.
Beck said the switch to 12-hour shifts is vital for his team. According to emsworld.com, sleep deprivation and stress are silent killers in the industry.
“The research shows that the 24-hour shifts have become increasingly dangerous with the amount of call volume that we have," Beck said.
“The busier bases: Asheboro, Archdale and Randleman; you can very well in a 24-hour shift run 17, 18 calls a shift," Cooper said.
EMS officials want to make sure their responders are even more prepared to serve their community to the best of their abilities at all times.
“Luckily we have not had any medical errors that are contributed to lack of sleep or fatigue, but you do have an increased risk of medical errors and increased risk of traffic accidents," Beck said.
They're starting this transition one base at a time and Asheboro's unit is first. It'll take 18 responders and right now EMS is still understaffed. They're currently taking job applications until this Friday. You can apply at randolphcountync.gov.