ST. CLOUD -- They provide an important link to our health and safety - Emergency Medical Services workers. This is National EMS Week.

Here in the St. Cloud area, we are served by the crews from the Mayo Clinic Ambulance Service. Elie Deeb is the Operations Supervisor who has been on the job for nearly 30 years. One of the three Assistant Supervisors is Mike Horner who has 17 years of experience, after changing careers.

I was a machinist for 10 years prior to this and every time I heard sirens I found myself looking out the window, and that led me to an EMT class, and the EMS hooks got in me and I went to paramedic school and here I am.

Horner went to paramedic school at the St. Cloud Community and Technical College, which Deeb says produces the vast majority of their staff.

I'd say about 70 to 80 percent of our employees come from that program, so it's been a good relationship working with them.

Deeb says, just like police and fire, there has been a shortage of qualified EMS workers for about the past five years now.

As for training, they both say they train multiple hours a year on the mental aspect of the job as well as the medical part of it.  They say they have a lot of follow-up mental support after crews respond to a difficult call.

On Wednesday of this week, Mayo Ambulance set a record with 95 calls in one day.

Horner says they are starting to get back to normal after more than a year of COVID-19 with a majority of their calls now dealing with other emergency issues.

The local operation services the St. Cloud, Little Falls and Litchfield areas with 105 employees. They also have a truck at Camp Ripley and another truck at the St. Cloud VA.

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