Are Volunteer EMS Agencies Cheaper To Operate?

Training1You often hear the about the struggles of volunteer EMS agencies and raising funds to operate and provide the highest level of care to their communities. While the labor may be cheap, the costs to run the organization is the same as any of the paid agencies out there. Sure it may vary depending on location but no matter how you look at it, it isn’t free.

Even members of the volunteer agencies pay out in time. I’m sure you have heard the “Time is money” phrase and members and officers alike put plenty of time into their volunteer organization. Just think about how much a paid EMS professional gets and how that same pay is being done for free by volunteers. 

Now I don’t want to get into the whole paid vs. volunteer debate here in a short blog post, you can join us on the podcast for that discussion. But I thought it would be a good idea to highlight one way that volunteer EMS agencies and members can cut down on time spent and equate that into savings. 

Listen, saving your members time and ensuring that you have members scheduled for training and shifts etc. makes the whole organization run smoother and I think a stronger organization as well. Check out this story below on how one EMS volunteer agency was able to save time and energy by making one aspect of the operation run smoother:

Using spreadsheets to organize, schedule and accommodate payroll for 20 paid and volunteer staff members at Roanoke Municipal Ambulance became far too time consuming for Troy Schuler, Chief of Ambulance Operations. “We needed to make a change. I spent several months trying all the free demos I could get my hands on. What I like best about EMS Manager are all the options the system has and the fact that I can customize it to fit our department’s needs.” Schuler states. “I feel EMS Manager is more of an all around management tool; it’s not just scheduling software.”

Chief Schuler states he and his staff utilize EMS Manager’s forum feature quite frequently.  He likes the way his squad can interact and discuss upcoming events, past meetings and training sessions.  He also uses the forum to allow members who could not attend a meeting to come up to speed on what they missed by reading the minutes online.  In addition, Chief Schuler indicates he uses EMS Manager to keep track of various training documents and staff certifications as well.

“The biggest difference I have seen in our department is the way people change their shift and sign up for shifts. It used to be done via email or text messages. EMS Manager has sped up the process dramatically. Now, personnel can change shifts and find coverage on their own through the system, without having to make a thousand phone calls back and forth with each other and with me,” adds Chief Schuler. “On average I save ten hours a week doing payroll and scheduling. Those 40 hours a month I save enables me to focus more on recruitment and community outreach.”

Like many SaaS (Software as a Service), or cloud based, software systems EMS Manager also provides a convenient mobile web app to subscribers.  This makes the system available from any smartphone or other web enabled device – such as an iPad or iPod.300x300-web-Jay

The majority of staff at Roanoke are volunteer, including Chief Schuler.  Since they have full-time jobs elsewhere, the ability to access and make changes to the schedule remotely is very important.  Chief Schuler states the mobility of EMS Manager allows him to manage the department much more easily and puts the schedule, employee data and staff communication at his fingertips.    

“One of the main reasons we chose EMS Manager is that it allows me to manage my team while I’m on the go. I can keep the schedule rolling smoothly from anywhere,” shares Chief Schuler. “All my staff are currently using the mobile app too.  It has made scheduling a thousand times easier and faster.”

I think that is some powerful feedback and is worth giving something like this a try. In fact EMS Manager has a full featured customized free trial of their software. So, if you think that saving time and expenses can help your agency, sign up for a free trial at EMS Manager.