Wake County EMS paramedics have a variety of work-schedule options available to them.
Historically, paramedics in Wake County worked an average 56-hour workweek on a 24-shift schedule. Around the year 2000, two things happened: the county began to grow rapidly (gaining between 25,000 and 30,000 new residents each year), and funding for public services became more limited as the County struggled to provide schools and other public services for its growing population. The EMS system began to need more resources and struggled to most effectively use its limited resources to meet growing demand. As a result, in 2003–2004, the first 12-hour units were placed into service, and in 2006–2007 three "peak activity units" were placed into operation.
In 2007–2008, as we focused more on EMS safety, we began to pay attention to paramedics’ work-rest-sleep cycles and to look at the workload of individual EMS units. The result was the conversion of three of our busiest EMS units, previously staffed using 24-hour shifts, to 12-hour, "round-the-clock" schedules.
Paramedics now have a variety of scheduling options available to them, including 24-hour shifts and 12-hour shifts with various start times. Shift assignments are based on individual requests, the needs of the service, and the availability of openings.