ESTILL COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — You've heard how difficult COVID has been on paramedics.
Now, they're facing the fallout of inflation and high gas prices.
Director Jimmie Wise says they have exceeded their fuel budget already, with four months to go in their fiscal year.
"We're feeling it," he says. "We're struggling as well with any organization."
Wise says they too are facing an uphill battle because of inflation. So many people right now are trying to balance two of the highest necessities -- gas or food.
"Our fuel costs have gone astronomically high," he said. "It's off the charts."
It's constantly a numbers game -- punching figures to figure out how to balance a budget.
"At the moment, this moment, we are $13,000 over," he said. "We still have four months left to go."
Wise says his EMTs are driving longer distances to move patients or to get them the best care. He says sometimes they're driving to Lexington, Ashland, Paducah, Louisville, or even Cincinnati.
"We're spending more and more and more going further and further and further away," he said.
They have also been facing staffing shortages.
"We like to keep about 44 here," he said. "We like to keep that on our roster. We're down to about 29."
Wise says due to costs and the cost of parts, there is also a longer wait for a new ambulance. He says he's been told it could be anywhere between a year and a half to two years.