ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – The St. Charles County Ambulance District received more than 50,000 calls in 2022, according to Kyle Gaines, the district’s director of community relations. He said the number is a record for the nearly 50-year-old ambulance district.

“We had 50,711 calls to be precise, and that marked about a 5.9% increase over what we saw in 2021,” Gaines said.

He believes the increase can be attributed to a growing residential and commercial population in St. Charles County.

“Aging population is another major factor,” Gaines said. “Folks who moved here to our community when St. Charles County was going through its first big boom period, are now aging into the segment that needs our services more frequently.”

The increase in calls comes at a time when districts and departments across the St. Louis area are looking to fill paramedic positions.

“We are always on the lookout for highly trained, skilled clinicians,” Gaines said.

He said ideal candidates include individuals who are good critical thinkers and are empathetic.

The district has an academy program and recently launched an exploration program, giving young people the opportunity to learn more about a career as a paramedic.

Toni Milan is the paramedic program director for Respond Right EMS Academy in St. Peters. She said paramedics are currently in demand.

“You could have one job opening, and maybe three or four people will apply,” Milan said. “Compared to 15 years ago, you may have had 100 people apply for that position.”

The academy offers a host of options for anyone wanting to become a paramedic or EMT. Milan said, depending on the amount of time someone has available, the EMT training can be completed anywhere from six to 16 weeks, followed by a national written and practical exam. Paramedic training can follow.

“Our paramedic program is anywhere from 13 months to 16 months,” Milan said.

Both Milan and Gaines believe the paramedic profession is a rewarding one.

“What better impact can you have on somebody than just making them understand that you’re there to help them,” Milan said.