Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Ahsha Safaí Propose Funding to Address Emergency Medical Services Staffing Shortages
Mid-year budget supplemental will provide $2.5 million to add 50 new paramedics to fill staffing shortages
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and Supervisor Ahsha Safaí today introduced a mid-year budget supplemental to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to address critical staffing shortages in the City’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) division. The proposal, which calls for an allocation of $2.5 million, would provide financial resources to the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) to hire and train 50 new EMTs and paramedics.
“If we are going to continue to meet our emergency response goals, we need to make the necessary investments in public safety,” said Mayor Breed. “Every single person in this City should have the confidence that when they are in the most need, this City will respond quickly with emergency care. By adding 50 new EMS workers, we are not only addressing the emergency needs of our growing City, but also easing the workload on paramedics that have committed their careers to serve San Franciscans.”
Today’s proposal comes after an analysis conducted by the Mayor’s Office, City Controller, Fire Department, and Department of Emergency Management, which found a growing trend where City ambulances were not available to assign to emergency calls due in part to staffing shortages. Identifying the gaps in public safety, the final adopted FY 2021-22 and FY 2022-23 Budget included funding to hire 10 new paramedics. Today’s proposal builds on this investment, which would bring the total number of new paramedics to 60. SFFD currently employs approximately 200 EMS workers.
“Public safety of our residents has to be a number 1 priority for San Francisco,” said Supervisor Ahsha Safaí. “For too long, our Fire Department Paramedics have been overworked, understaffed, and underappreciated. Over the past year, I have worked with the Fire Chief and her team, the Department of Public Health, the Mayor’s Office, and Firefighters Union Local 798 to address these issues. Today’s supplemental will add 50 new paramedics over the next 6 months and help us address the challenges for paramedics in a proactive way. Now our residents can rest better.”
“Despite a 16% increase in call volume since 2015, new ambulance personnel have not increased to meet this demand. Adding 60 new ambulance members will help ensure the timely response and ambulance availability required by local and state regulations, as well as provide much needed relief to our current EMTs and paramedics who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic,” said Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson.
If approved by the Board of Supervisors, the budget supplemental will allocate $2.5 million to begin training paramedics in the Spring of 2022. Once training is complete, the new paramedics are expected to start responding to emergency calls in July, 2022.
“Calls for service have increased while our staffing levels have stayed stagnant. This investment will ensure that the people of San Francisco continue to receive the emergency medical care that they expect and deserve,” said Shon Buford, President, SFFD Local 798.
The supplemental will need to be heard and approved by the Board’s Budget and Finance committee before going to the Board of Supervisors for a final vote. The Mayor will request the supplemental be heard as soon as possible to ensure the new paramedics can begin training in Spring 2022.