ST. LOUIS – From May 21 through May 27, it’s EMS appreciation week. For St. Louis EMTs and paramedics, awareness, and support help as they deal with high crime and limited resources.  

On Thursday, team members gathered to reflect on why the importance of that appreciation matters, especially right now.  

Colleen Kinsella joined St. Louis EMT and paramedic department three years ago, she said it’s the drive behind what she can do that makes the dangerous situations worth it.  

“I was on the highway, and there was a really bad accident. I remember there was no one else on scene,” Kinsella said. “I just didn’t know what to do to help people.” 

That feeling stretches across the team. Jared Eddingfield has been with the department for over 20 years and said the sounds of the sirens drive the work.

“I don’t listen to the sirens when we’re going to the hospital. I don’t pay attention to the bumps we hit in the street,” he said. “I just focus on what’s wrong with the person and what I need to do to help them.” 

Now, they’re seeking others with similar passions for helping others. The department said it’s dealing with staffing shortages, which has made it more difficult to respond to every call.  

“We definitely need more people… we need help, we need more resources, we need more trucks,” Kinsella said. 

The necessity is one of the reasons James Hale moved to St. Louis from out of state. He said the high crime in the city has helped him learn key tactics in the field.  

“Sometimes there’s instances where there’s multiple patients with a lot of people who are hurt,” Hale said. “Given current staffing and stuff like that, there might only be just yourself.” 

With limited staff and resources, tending to anything from 12 to 18 dispatches during a shift, the team said it made an impact on their emotions. 

“You sit there, and you have calls holding… you know those people need you, and you can’t do anything about it because you’re under a call,” Kinsella said.  

It’s the ability to serve and save the community, which had the biggest impact on them.  

“It’s nice knowing that people trust you enough to come into their house, hand you their child,” Kinsella said. “To know that you’re worthy of that trust, and you work hard to be worthy of that trust.”  

Hale said, despite the challenges, it’s an amazing job. 

If anyone is interested in bringing up recruitment and joining the force, links to teams in the St. Louis Fire Department are below.  

EMS Dispatcher 

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) 


Probationary Fire Private