WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Sedgwick County EMS is working to add more positions to the field, something the EMS Chief said hasn’t been done since 2017.

Since 2018, Sedgwick County EMS began staffing its trucks with one paramedic and one EMT to help cut costs.

Paramedics have more advanced capabilities for life-saving measures and are paid more than EMTs.

But now, the current Sedgwick County EMS Chief wants to go back to the old model before 2018. This is where two paramedics are staffed in a truck after finding the 2018 switch has some issues.

“What we are seeing is the result of that is increased workload for our paramedics, increased stress load, lack of functionality on site, and when we are dealing with public safety, we want to make sure that we are giving our EMS staff making sure they have all the resources necessary,” said Sedgwick County Commissioner Ryan Baty.

Sedgwick County EMS Chief Kevin Lanterman said the department’s call volume increases about 5% each year.

He said that it has caused an increased workload for the single paramedics on calls.

“You know am I going to start that IV and give the medication that the patient needs, or am I going to take care of the airway the patient needs, or I’m going to have to choose which one am I going to do first,” said Sedgwick County EMS Chief, Kevin Lanterman.

The EMS Department is hoping to add $568,644 to the 2024 budget to fully fund 31 paramedic positions instead of underfilling with EMTs and add six EMT positions for the Grow Your Own program.

“The two paramedics will help not only just decrease workload but also better functionality on scene,” said Baty.

“It is important at the end of the day that our providers are healthy. They, you know, have lives. They have families they want to go home to,” said Lanterman.

He hopes this can improve retention for staff and keep the best quality service for those calling for help.

The next step for this funding Sedgwick County Commissioners will vote on it sometime in July before approving the final budget in August.

If approved, the EMS Department can adjust and add new positions for 2024.